Some yoga breathing techniques
Yoga and breathing are strictly related. Yoga
breathing, or “Pranayama”, consists of a series of
techniques for breath control. Pranayama comes from the
Prana – ‘life force’ or ‘ life energy’
Yama – ‘discipline’ or ‘control’
Ayama – ‘expansion’, ‘non-resistent’ or
Learning to breath correctly and open up
the inner life force is not only used to improve health,
but also to help and prepare yoga practitioners in their
meditation. In fact, some meditations techniques are based
on the observation (and sometimes control) of breathing, as
described on the page dedicated to meditation.
Below are some pranayama exercises (please
remember that if you have any health problems you should be
performing these exercises only under the guidance of an
It is a simple retention of breath. Breathe in to the count
of 8 (over time you increase this by 2 units per day, to a
maximum of a count of 32). Hold the breath in to the count
of 8, and breath out to the count of 8. Basically, you must
use the same time for breathing in, holding the breath and
If you experience any discomfort using the
count of 8-8-8, decrease the number until you reach a
comfortable unit and start from there.
This exercise is very useful to soothe the
Close the right nostril
with the right thumb. Breath in with the left nostril
to the count of 4; hold the breath to the count of 16;
breath out with the right nostril to the count of 8.
Repeat the exercise inverting the nostrils’ order (i.e.
close left nostril with left thumb and so forth). Therefore,
in each one around one inhales by the right nostril ,
followed left nostril exhale and then reverse the order to
make inhale by the right nostril, then stop and then exhale
by the left nostril. This whole of process is repeated on
several occasions for 15 minutes at 30 minutes
If you experience any discomfort in using
the counts of 4-16-8, it is preferable to use the counts of
This exercise is used in Raja Yoga; it is
very important for purifying the nerves (nadis).
3. Purifying breath
This exercise is useful for
purifying the lungs, especially after having spent some time
in unhealthy or poorly ventilated environments (e.g. smoky
Slowly breathe-in through the nose and
then suddenly breathe-out in the following way: close your
lips in a way that they touch the teeth and leave only the
slightest gap to exhale. Breathe out with separate vigorous
exhales (i.e. as opposed to one long exhale) through the
tiny gap between your lips.
If necessary, repeat this exercise several
times during the day.
The exercises described above are only
simple preparatory exercises. In yoga practices such as
Kundalini Yoga you will find that breathing -and breathing
techniques- are of fundamental importance. .