Pranayama Techniques for right breathing…!!!
Well as we mentioned in our previous post, our daughter is all the inspiration we needed to start straightening out our lives and one of the first steps was to reconnect with our very own physical and spiritual self. Thus began the search for finding the techniques for right breathing.
On the path to such achievement we came across Baba Ramdev‘s Patanjali Yoga.
Baba Ramdev is one of the most celebrated modern day spiritual leaders. He not only popularized Yoga in India but also overseas and has inspired thousands into adapting the yogic route to health and happiness. His Yogic Kriya can be divided into two parts – the ‘Pranayama‘ and the ‘Asanas’. We will explore the ‘Pranayamas’ in detail, in this section of the blog and the ‘Asanas’ in detail, in the Great Workout section. It is based on the teachings of Maharshi Patanjali, considered to be the father of modern yoga and the author of the celebrated Yoga Sutras. These are composed of 196 Indian sutras (a rule or aphorism in Sanskrit literature) compiled around 400 CE by Patanjali himself and anybody who’s pursuing yoga comes across his teachings in one or the other way. Baba Ramdev is bringing public awareness of said techniques by conducting hugely popular free yoga camps in association with Patanjali Yogpeeth in Haridwar, India.
One cannot emphasis enough on how important the ‘Pranayamas’ are. It is of utmost importance that one learns the breathing techniques correctly as improper application of these techniques may end up causing more harm than benefit. But it’s not to be feared. Till recent times this knowledge was limited to books and authors who had a good understanding of the techniques. The great thing about Baba Ramdev is that he revealed them to the masses. Not only that, his simplistic approach to these techniques made it possible for thousands of individuals, who would have shied away from them, to benefit from their endless benefits.
Once the fog is cleared around the misconceptions of the harms caused by ‘Pranayama’, it’s time to analyse the actual benefits of these life saving techniques as briefed by Baba Ramdev. ‘Pranayamas’ are known to help you get good health by taking a scientific approach to lead an ailment free life as well as takes you to a high level of spirituality. One needs to undertake at least 1 hour of Yoga everyday to reduce ones health related problems and attain tranquility. This will comprise of half an hour of Breathing exercises (Pranayamas) and another half hour of Physical exercises (Asanas). But of course there are some precautions to be taken:
1) People with heart problems or high blood pressure must not exert themselves while exercising.
2) If one has pain in the lower back or is suffering from ulcerative colitis or acute asthama, again one must refrain from practicing ‘Pranayama’ with strain.
3) In case of epilepsy or cancer ‘Pranayama’ has to be practiced very slowly.
4) Expecting mothers must never practice Kapal Bhati and Bahaya Pranayama.
5) Bahaya Pranayama must be avoided by women during their menstrual cycle.
6) Most importantly ‘Pranayama’ has to be done on an empty stomach or at least five hours after the meals.
These have to be practiced while sitting in either one of the following three poses or ‘Asanas’:
For us Siddhasana has worked the best. We did start off with Sukhasana, which is by far the easiest, but then with time have moved on to Siddhasana. This ‘Asana’ can be achieved by placing ones right foot on the left, heel on heel, ankle on ankle. Toes must be placed between the calf and thigh. Also make sure you back is upright.
Another thing to keep in might is to place your hands in one of many ‘Mudras‘. These are gestures with ones hands that are used while performing various ‘Pranayamas’ to stimulate different parts of the body and mind, and to affect the flow of ‘Prana’ in the body.
These are – Dhyana Mudra, Vāyu Mudra, Shunya Mudra, Prithvi Mudra, Varuna Mudra, Shakti Mudra, Apāna Mudra
So, basically each one of the techniques of ‘Pranayama’ involves controlled inhalation and exhalation of breath. The 7 major ‘Pranayamas’ are listed below and we will delve into each one of them in great detail in subsequent articles (just follow the hyperlinks):