Yoga is an ancient practice that has been around for centuries. It’s a way of life, and not just physical exercise. Yoga breathing is very important in the practice because it sets the foundation for all other movements in class.
Your breath varies depending on what type of flow you’re doing: there are different benefits to each one. Some styles give you more energy and strength when holding poses, while others help you relax into positions or focus on your inner self. There are many different types of yoga breathing techniques, and we’ll discuss a few of them in this post.
What is Yoga Breathing? – Pranayama
Pranayama is the yoga word for breath control. “Prana” means life force, and “yamas” means to control. So pranayama translates as “to regulate one’s breathing”. The practitioner of this technique controls his or her body by regulating their breaths in a particular pose they are working on.
Your breathing is controlled by your nervous system, so you don’t need to think about it all the time. You can concentrate on other things like talking and running without worrying that they’ll stop!
Yoga is a great way to keep your breath in check and make you feel more relaxed. For example, if at the end of practice, when you’re lying down, it feels like there’s not enough oxygen around or that stress has been building up all day, take mindful breaths to calm yourself down. This will help reduce tension from any other part of your body by calming each muscle group one by one until they become limp on their own with this technique referred to as “pranayama”.
Every yoga pose can be tailored according to its breathing counterpart – for instance, an energizing type could give you energy, while relaxing poses would release tensions before getting too out-of-control during restorative postures such as Savasana, where deep, slow breathes.
Benefits of Pranayama
Eastern medicine teaches us that when the flow of our vital energy or prana is blocked, it can cause illness and disease. Practicing Pranayama exercises gives you control over this life force’s natural movement within your body, which empowers you to heal yourself in a way Westernized practices cannot.
The Western world is catching up to Eastern health practices! Don’t be fooled by the stereotypes that everything eastern is just for holistic healing. In fact, breathing exercises in our fast-paced society can help lower blood pressure and stabilize moods – a must-have when dealing with stressors such as work or school.
The vagus nerve is stimulated through deep breathing exercises. It is the highway of information between your brain and body. When we take a deep breath, it signals to our brains that we’re getting too ramped up and need to calm down. And since this all-natural blood pressure reducer works within minutes for free – everyone should be doing them!
Different Types of Pranayama Breathing
The Nadi Sodhana style of breathing is a way to purify the nervous system and release stored emotions. This type of breathing can be done seated or in any position, but it’s best when sitting up straight.
Nadi Sodhana pranayama involves slow breaths from one nostril at a time alternating between each nostril for five minutes each side (15 min).
The next time you’re feeling stressed, try this simple breathing technique. It’s one of the oldest and most reliable ways to relieve stress and anxiety! Find a comfy seat in an upright position with your back straight so that all the breath can flow freely through both nostrils. Close off one nostril by putting your right thumb over it for 1-2 minutes while taking deep breaths only from the left side during those 2 minutes (5-6 inhales). Next, cover up the other nasal passage using ring finger and pinky on the same hand as before but now take long exhaling breathes from the opposite side (10+ exhales per minute) repeating until desired effects are felt, or 3minutes has passed, whichever comes first. This will help release.
The three-part Dirga Pranayama or complete breath is used in chest opening poses and forward bending routines. It allows you to focus on your breathing by inhaling through the nose, first filling up your belly before expanding it into both your upper abdominal cavity as well as lungs.
Next, exhale from these areas with a slow release of air until empty. This type of deep breathing will relax you, making them perfect for more passive yoga flows.
When you inhale into or exhale out of your chest or stomach, it should feel as if the hand on that region of your body is rising and falling. If one feels more natural than the other for a certain exercise like this breathing practice. Try to work with whichever position makes sense for what you’re doing right now – just know which way will be best, so when we get there in later practices, I can help adjust them accordingly!
Ujjayi pranayama is one of the most used breaths in yoga classes today. It’s a foundational breath that many yogis use to stay focused on their breathing and movement during meditative practices.
To practice ujjayi, you start by breathing through your mouth with constricted throat muscles as if trying to fog up a mirror before closing off the nose while still using those same restrictive throat muscles for airflow, which creates an ocean-like sound when doing so. This rhythmic sound can help avoid distracting thoughts from entering our minds and helps us focus all attention within ourselves instead!
This breath strengthens your core muscles because you inhale deeply and slowly while contracting them so that they expand as you exhale. You might find this technique most helpful during difficult poses such as back-bends – where Ujjayi will help keep your spine erect!
Kapalabhatti Pranayama is a type of breathing that allows you to use your breath to get energy and feel calmer. By exhaling quickly, the air will force out from your belly through both nostrils. This style of breathing can be done anytime- whether it’s before activity or while meditating on how fast life moves by so quickly!
Kapalabhatti Pranayama is also referred to as “the skull shining breath.” The focus of this breathing exercise on the exhale. For maximum results, push your abs out with all your might to expel air from deep within you so that it forces its way through both nostrils instead of just one when completing an inhale. After releasing a long exhalation, simply let in new oxygen without any effort at all; doing otherwise will make for inefficient breathing habits or no benefits at all!
The Brahmari breathing technique is a powerful practice to help you balance and focus your energy. It’s been said that by humming during the exhale process, it resonates in the head and heart, enhancing benefits from deep breaths. This method can be practiced with yoni mudra for an even more uplifting yoga moment!
Don’t try to practice the Brahmari while lying on your back. It should be done sitting upright instead!
Bhastrika, meaning “bellows” or “blower,” is often called Bellows Breath and is also known as Breath of Fire.
Bhastrika is a breathing technique that stimulates your solar plexus. It’s similar to Kapalabhati, but the emphasis on inhaling and exhaling are evenly distributed instead of one dominating over another as in Kapalabhati. Bhastrika also has an energizing effect throughout our entire body by stimulating Manipura Chakra (our third chakra). This could be considered like cardio for your lungs while holding still! The practice takes us out of headspace and into what it feels like to have energy running through all parts of ourselves – not just our heads or hearts!
Bhastrika is a breathing technique that helps with stress reduction. It also brings the body, spirit, and mind into better harmony as it synchronizes them together in moments of chaos or imbalance. You might have noticed this breath exercise often comes up during your yoga classes while holding long poses; because Bhastrika exercises our physical endurance to keep us going longer!
Sitali is a cooling breath practice that can reduce bad breath, fevers, and high blood pressure. This pranayama is also said to be great for those hot summer months or after a sweaty yoga class – especially if you want to stay cool during the ensuing swelter of summertime in Los Angeles! Sitali may not only soothe your soul but improve its mood as well. If you’re feeling down this evening, just take some Sitalis breaths and feel better soon enough!
After a long, hard yoga session with your body heating up to unimaginable degrees as you sweat. Sitali breath is the perfect thing for cooling down.
An alternative output: Sitali breaths can be done in two ways – either through pursed lips or by rolling your tongue inward and slowly inhaling just enough air to fill empty lungs (about three seconds). The benefits of this natural breathing technique are astounding!
Finishing it up
Now you know these breathing techniques, it’s time to explore! Start your yoga practice with Ujjayi Breathing to energize and get you flowing while stretching on the floor. As the session progresses towards its end, try Kapalabhatti for detoxifying purposes before ending off with Sitali Pranayama (aka Cooling Breath) as a final relaxation technique.
Use any of the other techniques to help improve your yoga practices and breathing!