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FeaturedHealth and Fitness

What is Pranayama? What Are The Types of Pranayama?

Everyone is familiar with the word pranayama. Moreover, it is hard to find a person who can’t tell how to pranayama. Isn’t it? Well. No. If you ask someone to do pranayama, they will probably sit in a particular meditation pose, put their finger on one side of their nose and start playing with their breathing system. That is the common idea of pranayama. Surprisingly it is neither true nor false. It is only a conception of the actual process.

It is the core of yoga and meditation practice. It can help in ways beyond we can imagine. Understanding pranayama from the bottom is essential because it has a lot to offer. It will be more comfortable to understand if you read about it in detail. In this article, you will know about the meaning of pranayama and its types. You can learn about all of them through 100 hour yoga teacher training in Rishikesh.


Pranayama : 

Pranayama is the basis of a successful yoga session o meditation. Pranayama means control of breath, which is a Sanskrit word. Many people don’t know yet that there are several techniques to breathe and to control breathing. Pranayama may be a single term, but it takes three breathing techniques to do pranayama properly. Or it will be better to say that pranayama takes place in three stages such as –

  • Purak: it is the first stage when a person inhales through their nose
  • Kumba: the second step is to retent
  • Rehak: it is the final step of pranayama which is to exhale.

It is pranayama that helps to control our pranic energy before practicing yoga or meditation. If you want to perform correctly, it will be helpful to join a yoga school in Rishikesh.


Importance Or Purpose of Pranayama

Before we jump into the depth of pranayama, it will be helpful to know the role it plays for a healthy body and mind. We can say that doing pranayama can help cure severe health conditions like asthma, stress, depression, diabetes, etc. Moreover, if you need mental peace and awareness, it is the best way to attain those. But there is one thing that is a must for proper pranayama, and it is the environment. The best way to practice pranayama is to do it early in the morning with an empty stomach. So it is essential to ensure performing it in the fresh air.

It is the most ancient practice, and now that you know its basics, we should extend the knowledge to the various types of pranayama.

  1. Ujjayi pranayama :

It is one type of pranayama that starts with breathing through the mouth. The first step to performing ujjayi pranayama is to sit in a place with your legs crossed and breathe through your mouth. The following steps might seem awkward to perform for beginners as you have to make the sound of waves in the ocean by constricting your throat. Once you are done mimicking the sound, close your mouth. After closing your mouth, you have to breathe through your nose while constricting your throat again. One should repeat this process ten times. However, it will be better to perform it 15-20 times for better and faster results.

Importance: it provides relaxation, which helps in healing stress and anxiety. It is said to be an alternative treatment for PTSD. It also helps with issues related to the throat as the practice involves a lot of throat constricting.

  1. Kapalbhati Pranayama :

It is the most commonly performed pranayama. It is the pranayama everyone knows. However, not everyone is familiar with the entire term. However, performing it may seem to be the most accessible breathing exercise, but it is not. In this pranayama, the performer needs to exhale from their lungs. Let us explain it to you in detail. When you are performing kapalbhati, you have to exhale from your lungs with massive force. The force should be heavy enough to suck your belly, and during the inhale, it should get back to its previous position.

Importance: It is a famous pranayama technique to warm up, which is why people are familiar with it. Moreover, it also helps to deal with anxiety. It is also beneficial to burn calories and strengthen abdominal muscles.

Due to pandemics, many yoga schools and studios are now offering yoga courses online and we strongly recommend you to check the best 200 hour online yoga teacher training course to get certified as a yoga instructor.

  1. Nadi Sodhana :

Nadi sodhana is also a common type of pranayama that people usually perform. People often combine nadi sodhana and kapalbhati into one pranayama. However, it is not the right way to perform Nadi sodhana. It has several benefits that you can avail yourself of if you perform it correctly, step by step. The first step to performing Nadi sadhana is to sit with your legs crossed. The inhale-exhale process is a bit tricky in this process. Once you comfortably sit with your legs crossed, close your right nostril by pressing it with your fingertip and inhale from the other nostril. Repeat this technique with the alternative nostrils. Do this for a few minutes. It is better to perform Nadi sodhana every day for the benefit.

Importance: there are several benefits of performing Nadi sodhana. It is also a helpful technique to reduce stress and anxiety. Moreover, alternate breathing helps to purify the energy channels and brings balance to the body. Finally, it also brings peace of mind.

Related Article: Best Yoga Poses For An Advance Yogis

  1. Bhramari pranayama :

People who are deeply into meditation and yoga are familiar with bhramari. Another name of the bhramari pranayama is humming bee breathing. It starts with sitting comfortably with your legs crossed. Next, you have to close your ears with your thumb, eyes with your fingers. After you cover both ears and eyes, you need to make the sound of a bee and exhale, inhale. If you can’t mimic the sound of a bee, you can replace it with chanting om. Now, you know why it is called bhramari or humming bee breathing. Furthermore, it’s essential to repeat this cycle for at least five minutes, and even better if you can continue for ten minutes.

Importance: one of the many reasons people practice bhramari is to get relaxation. It is one of the best ways to reduce stress, anxiety, and depression. It not only helps to calm the mind and bring peace, but it also helps with improving memory.

  1. Shitali pranayama :

Shitali is a technique that seems like you are doing nothing from the inside. It starts with sitting in a cross leg position, and once you get comfortable in the setting, you can proceed to the next steps. Next, you need to roll your tongue to form an o shape inside your mouth and inhale. It’s essential to hold the breath inside your mouth by locking your chin called Jalandhar bandh. After some time, you can exhale it through your nose. You need to repeat this cycle for the next few minutes. The minimum count to perform this cycle is eight. It will be better to perform a few more cycles for better results.

Importance: it helps to reduce anxiety. Moreover, the most significant benefit of this pranayama is that it cools down the body and makes you feel refreshed.



All five types of pranayama mentioned in this article are the most beneficial for a healthy body and mind every day. However, there are a few more types of pranayama, such as bhastrika, anuloma-viloma, etc.



200 Hour Certified Yoga Teacher, Vinyasa flow & Yin.

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