How to do Pranayama


Pranayama breathing techniques are an integral part of yoga. Many benefits can be gained by practicing pranayama regularly. This article reveals certain do’s and don’ts about how to do pranayama effectively.

Guidelines on How To Do Pranayama
  • Children below 16 years should not do pranayama
  • Pranayama should be practiced after asanas and not before
  • Do not perform pranayama in a hurried manner or, when your chest feels congested
  • Do not practice pranayama if your chest feels tense and heavy, or if your breathing sounds rough and harsh
  • If you feel depressed, avoid practicing pranayama
  • Wrong practice of pranayama will not give benefits, and may even cause diseases
  • If you feel heavy, restless or irritated after doing pranayama, then you are doing it wrong. Consult a yoga expert for advice
  • You should not over-do pranayama to the point of exhaustion or weariness
  • Do not do too many repetitions
  • Pranayama should not be performed mechanically
  • Focus on the exercise while performing pranayama
  • Include change and variety in your exercises
  • Ensure you do pranayama in a non-violent and gentle manner
  • Your breathing should never be irregular or jerky, but continuous, steady and smooth

How To Do Pranayama – Steps Involved

Step 1 – Abdominal Breathing

Have you noticed your natural breathing technique? You must have noticed that when you inhale your abdomen or your stomach rises and falls when you exhale. Spend a few seconds checking the flow of your breath. Now try to take deep breaths allowing your abdomen to rise to its last limit during inhalation and allowing your abdomen to fall completely while exhaling. Remember, keep your chest still during this exercise and move your abdomen only. Repeat the process for 20 breaths and relax.

Step 2 – Chest Breathing
Observe your natural breathing again. In the first step you had focused on your abdomen, now focus on your chest. As you breathe your chest will be moving very slightly up and down with exhalation. Now try lifting the rib cage as much as you could while inhaling so that the lungs get filled up completely. Now let the lungs deflate completely and let the chest sink to its limit. Keep your abdomen still and repeat the process for 20 breaths. Relax.

Step 3 – Full Yogic Breathing

The Full Yogic technique of breathing is a combination of both the first and second steps. Inhale and first fill your abdomen, continue to inhale and expand your chest. Now exhale and deflate the chest first and then the abdomen. The pattern would be inhaling in to the abdomen first and then chest and exhaling from the chest first and then abdomen. Remember do not strain. Try to practice this as smoothly and effortlessly as possible.

If you keep practicing the Yogic breathing regularly, you will start breathing in this manner over time.

Tips on How to do Pranayama
It is advisable to learn pranayama from a qualified instructor. Before embarking on pranayama, consult your doctor whether it is suitable for you, especially if you have asthma or suffer from shortness of breath.

Pranayama exercise should be enjoyable and satisfying. Do not push yourself over the limit. Some people think pranayama means holding the breath. This is not correct. Pranayama teaches us how to control our breath so that inhalation and exhalation are relaxed and smooth.

Principles on How to do Pranayama

Some beginners may feel dizzy when they first start doing pranayama. They should stop immediately if they feel faint or dizzy. They should also be more cautious and careful, when they next start doing pranayama. Try to do pranayama in an environment with clean, fresh air and unpolluted by chemicals or smoke. This is advised because during pranayama, you inhale deeply, so the air should be clean. The room temperature is also important, and should not be too cold or too hot.

Benefits of Pranayama (Yogic Breathing)

  • Helps against respiratory diseases like asthma and emphysema.
  • Improves stimulus to the cardio-vascular system.
  • Reduces anxiety and calms the mind.
  • Improves the exchange of carbon dioxide and oxygen, thus improving detoxification.
  • Increases distribution of energy to the endocrine system.
  • Releases acute and chronic muscular tensions around the heart and digestive organs.
  • Amplifies the auto immune system by increased distribution of energy to the endocrine system.

Hope you have got a clear idea on how to do pranayama. Why late then?? Go start practicing…

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