The word “yoga” comes from the ancient Indian language, Sanskrit. It is a meditation practice that has a calming and relaxing effect to the mind and body while the focus is on breathing. There are different breathing exercises that primarily involve breathing through the nose with the lips closed and knowing these types can help alleviate stress and clear your mind. This is referred to as Pranayama. To give you a better understanding of the topic, here are the different types of Pranayama.
1. Kapalabhati Pranayama
Also referred to as the skull-shining breath, it aims to give make you alleviate the heaviness in your body and make your head and body feel lighter than when you first start your meditation. To start, sit in a comfortable position with crossed-legs and take a deep full cycle of breath for two to three times. Next, inhale deeply as you would but when you exhale, make it more forceful and let all the air out. Ensure to draw you r tummy in as you exhale while inhale as you normally do but deeply to bring your tummy’s position normal. Repeat this cycle between 20 and 30 times.
2. Ujjayi Pranayama
Known as the victorious breath, this is the type of yogic breathing that calls for a relaxed and energized gentle breath to promote balance. The term “ujjayi” means ocean and as such, this is done by mimicking the sound of the waves. This is done through the nose but as you exhale, try to mimic the sound of the ocean at the back of your throat. To begin, sit in a comfortable position with your legs crossed and inhale and exhale deeply using your mouth at first. As you do this, constrict your throat as if you are choking on something as you breathe in and out. After, breathe through your nose doing the same technique with the constricted throat. This exercise should be done with ten to fifteen repetitions.
3. Nadi Sodhana
This breathing technique is good for the respiratory system and helps in cleansing and strengthening the lungs. Also perfect in balancing the hemispheres of the brain, this breathing exercise is easy to do and is known as the alternate nostril breathing. While seated comfortably with crossed legs, use the right thumb and press the right nostril. While in this position, inhale from the left nostril. Next, cover the left nostril with the pointer finger and release the thumb to exhale through the right nostril. Next, alternate the exercise starting from the left nostril. Repeat this exercise for about fifteen times and you will feel the difference.
4. Sheetali Pranayama
Also referred to as the cooling breath, this breathing technique is effective in removing the toxins from the body while calming the mind and keeping the body cool because it affects the temperature of the body. Suitable to perform to get through a hot summer day, sheetali pranayama is done by sitting with legs crossed and the body straight and warm up by doing five full breath cycles. Next, curl the tongue to create a tube-like passage or move to mouth to create a small oval opening. While in this position, inhale through the mouth and close it. Hold your breath for about five to ten seconds. Release the air through the nose slowly. Repeat this technique for fifteen to twenty times or until such time you feel your body has already cooled down.
Breathing exercises have numerous benefits, from stress management to body and mind relaxation. Whenever you feel the need to calm down or you want to fall asleep easily, you can perform any of these yogic breathing exercises.
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