How to do pranayama – A simple pranayama technique
Pranayama is one of the usual suggestions that I give to patients, for a variety of health conditions. But often it is seen that the people do not get time to go to a Yoga teacher and learn the technique (though it is highly recommended). That gives way for a simplified version of Pranayama. But please remember, it only is the second choice to Pranayama learnt from a Yoga master.
Why there is a need to simplify Pranayama –
1. The regular Pranayama mentioned in Yogas is for totally healthy people.
2. It has yoga prerequisites namely –Yama, Niyama and Asana. It means, the regular Pranayama would require one to follow dietary & mind restrictions and to have proper training in the Asanas. As Swamy Vivekananda used to say, a fit body is prerequisite of a fit mind.
3. Inhaling and exhaling through single nostrils alternatively is quite confusing for the beginners.
4. If strained excessively while doing Pranayama, it causes giddiness and difficulty in breathing.
How to do a simple Pranayama?
Pranayama Time - Morning, on empty stomach or 15 minutes after tea / coffee. Preferably after bath. Pranayama is a technique to fill mind & body with fresh air and energy. So, morning is the right time for it. After bath, we feel fresh. So it adds to the benefits of Pranayama. It will be easier for the mind to get cleansed with the fresh Prana (breath).
Pranayama Place: The place should be spacious, with sufficient air and light. Better to keep the windows open. If it is done in a closed room, often it causes giddiness. So fresh air is very necessary. The place should be noise free.
Pranayama Posture – Sit on a mat on the floor, with legs crossed. Spine (back) erect & straight. Head straight. Face looking forward. For those with knee problem, and who can’t sit on the floor, a chair can be used.
Eyes – eyelids closed with eyes pointing towards the tip of the nose. You need to close the eyelids with eyes pointing to nose tip. This way, when you close the eyes, the eyes will automatically concentrate on centre point of two eye brows.
Pranayama Mindset – Very relaxed. No hurry bury. No extra thoughts, If possible, remember your favorite Deity. If you can not relax your mind, or if you are in a hurry, it is better to skip the Pranayama session for that day, rather than doing it half heartedly.
The Simple Pranayama Technique –
Sit quietly for one minute. Breathe deeply, breathe easily. During this one minute, think that you are going to receive energy to the body and mind to become healthier, to become robust & strong. Think that you are going to throw out all the impurities of mind and the body through exhaling breath and think that you are going to have fresh and pure energy by inhaling the fresh Prana – the breath fully filled with life, strength, positivism and energy.
Once the eyes are closed and are pointing to nose, back erect, mind relaxed, start the Pranayama. It has three phases.
1. Slow Inhale – Take a deep breath (as deep as possible), very slowly and steadily, without hurrying up. The mind should think that you are taking the energy of God into your body.
2. Hold – Hold the breath for as long as comfortable. During this time, think that the Prana (energetic breath) that you have taken in is cleansing the whole body from tip of the brain to tip of leg. Imagine as though the air is moving all over the body and cleansing all the organs and mind.
3. Slower Exhale – Exhale slowly. Exhaling period should be longer than inhaling period. While exhaling, think that all the impurities of your body and mind that were cleansed are now let out of the body.
Repeat the same steps from 1 to 3 for three to ten times, based on your convenience.
After Pranayama, you need to sit in the same place, for at least five minutes. During which time, prayer can be done.
What should be the duration of this simplified Pranayama?
Not more than two minutes.
Is there a rule that it should be done daily?
It is better to do it daily. It is ok, if it is missed for a few days.. or when the mind is too much occupied, or when you are too busy.
Are there any side effects? Who should not do this?
If one feels giddiness or breathing difficulty or sweating or temporary feeling of darkness then it has to be discontinued. Rush to a place with plenty of air, lie down and breathe easy. Do not try to do it ever again.
It is not suitable for pregnant woman or children below 12 years of age.
It is not suitable for people with respiratory problems such as asthma, chronic cough.
It is not suitable for people with severe illnesses such as heart conditions, cancer etc.
It is highly recommended to learn Pranayama from a qualified Yoga teacher than to follow this method.
What are the benefits of Pranayama?
Apart from being the best among the stress relieving techniques, Pranayama has numerous health benefits. Click read more about benefits of Pranayama along with special details.
Benefits of Pranayama
Pranayama meaning literally the “breath of life”.
In other words Pranayama can be described as a technique of breath control using sequential deep inhalations and gentle exhalations. An indispensable part of ancient Indian yoga, Pranayama can be carried out using different techniques, all of them involving step by step deep inhalations and gentle exhalations.
Pranayama poses lots of benefits to our body, soul and the mind, if practiced regularly and in proper way.
* We all know that breathing is an indispensable part of life, but ironically most of us are not even aware of the fact that we are not breathing properly, despite continuous breathing. Pranayama is the only technique that teaches how to breathe properly so that the body gets maximum benefits of breathing. Instead of slow and deep breathing we have got habitual of taking quick, shallow breaths and that too from the stomach instead of chest.
* By practicing Pranayama regularly, we can change our breathing habits and start breathing deeply from the belly.
* We do not even know that one third of our lungs is always deprived of the air (or oxygen in other words) that we inhale because shallow breathing does not allow the air to spread fully in the lungs. By following the deep breathing techniques taught in Pranayama, we can give a chance to the lungs to breathe effectively because the lungs spread fully as the air flows in, hence making more oxygen available to parts of the body that were previously deprived of it and as a result, the body gets energized many more times than it used to get earlier.
* With the increasing oxygen supply to the body, the efficiency of various organs and systems also increases and body works more efficiently. This helps to increase the metabolic rate. As a result, the accumulated fat in the body burns faster and digestion is also improved.
* Pranayama also increases the body immunity as the enhanced oxygen and blood supply gives strength to the body.
* Pranayama is a boon for those who suffer from lung based diseases especially asthma or bronchitis as the lung capacity is many times increased if Pranayama is practiced regularly. Pranayama can also retard and reverse the effects of lung damage in smokers.
Pranayama has many techniques that result in lowering or increasing the blood pressure depending on the technique of Pranayama that is used. Other Pranayama benefits include improved abdominal tone. Not only the energy blockages in the body get opened but the congestion of nasal passages is also removed. There can be no other convenient way rather than practicing Pranayama to flush out toxins from the body. Patients suffering from ailments such as allergies, heart conditions, insomnia, chronic pain and imbalances in the endocrine system also get benefits to cure these diseases with the help of Pranayama.
Last but not the least, Pranayama also helps to control the mind. In a world full of stress and only stress, Pranayama helps us to get relaxed and De-stress not only the mind but the body also. We can concentrate in a better way and improve our focus. Regular practice of Pranayama, can also help to balance and center the mind.