Pranayama is the fourth
limb in Astanga Yoga. Pranayama is the science of cleansing, balancing and
gaining control over the Prana in the human system.
So what is Prana?
is the basic entity from which the universe is made.
It cannot be explained or controlled. It must be experienced by the continuous
practice. The meaning of Prana is 'energy'
or 'life force' and ayama means
'extension' or 'stretch'.
In another way pranayama
is the energy management.
According to Patanjali, Pranayama
is the science of harnessing the breath for gaining control over the Prana
and thereby, on the mind. Five identified types of prana are Vyana, Udana,
Samana, Prana and Apana.
Pranayama has lots of benefits.
At the same time if it is not done properly it could be dangerous. So it
is always advised to learn pranayama from a well known practitioner or teacher
who knows the correct method. Because if the foundation is perfect, then
you can go for the higher levels by reading and practising.
Pranayama: In a simple
way, mastery over Prana is
Pranayama. Pranayama is wide area and under
this, different yoga techniques are performed. Also Prana involves other
five pranas or pancha pranas.
They are as
--------> Conventional Pranayama and Trataka
--------> Kriyas and Bandhas
--------> Kriya Yoga and Bandhas
--------> Shavasana, Yoganidra and Mudras
--------> Kundalini Yoga
starting the practice of Pranayama, these following points to be
can be practiced before or after taking bath.
a light stomach while practicing Pranayama. Or wait for at least four hours
after meals before you begin Pranayama.
spine, neck and head should be kept erect and centered. Vajrasana or Padmasana
are the best poses for pranayama.
practice Pranayama with the relaxed mind. Be sure to practice regularly and
don't stop the practice unless you are seriously ill.
too much is always bad. So don't increase your pranayama practice for
indiscriminately. Slow and steady always wins the race.
and Viloma: Anuloma means breathing in and Viloma means breathing
comfortably in any posture; preferably in padmasana or vajrasana. Relax the
whole body. Gently close your eyes and keep relaxed smiling
slowly and feel the whole body is energized. Enjoy this
slowly exhale effortlessly. Feel the whole body is
can be done several rounds or several times a day, which reduces the stress
Both inhalation and exhalation
through the left nostril is called Chandranuloma. Left nostril is called
Chandra Nadi, so this breathing is called Chandranuloma.
Right nostril is kept closed
all the time using the right thumb which is in Nasik Mudra.
As right nostril is called
Surya Nadi, this breathing is called Suryanuloma. Here both inhalation
and exhalation are carried out through the right nostril only, keeping the
left nostril closed all the time.
These pranayamas help in clearing
up the nasal congestion. It is also believed that Suryanuloma is helpful
in reducing obesity and Chandranuloma in gaining weight.
Some other pranayama techniques
are Nadi Suddhi,
Sectional Breathing - Abdominal, Thorasic and Clavicular, Yogic Breathing,
Seetali, Seetkari, Bhramari and
must be taught by a experienced person. Pranayama is very helpful for the
people who are suffering from nasal congestion, sinus problem and frequent