Embrace the breath of life.
Patanjali’s Yoga Sutra, which carries the pearls of his spiritual insights and timeless wisdom, provides the foundational teachings of yoga. Here he mentions that the right path of living occurs in eight stages, which he termed as ashtanga or the “eight limbs of yoga” (ashta=eight, anga=limb). Pranayama comes in the fourth stage in ashtanga yoga right after asana.
Prana vayu means the energy generated through the air we breathe. It manifests itself in five major vayus or “Panch Pranas” with different functions, namely Prana, Udana, Vyana, Samana and Apana.
Prana, if simply described, is the essence of life whereas pranayama is a practice intended to increase your ‘prana’ energy.
Patanjali’s texts continue to have a timeless and universal appeal. Anyone irrespective of religion and culture can follow this systematic practice to enjoy its practical benefits in daily life.
It is time we appreciate our bodies through time-honored traditions and pay close attention to the life (prana) that flows through us with every inhale of fresh air. So, why wait? Take the next step in the direction of healthy living and keep your lungs going strong for life.
Join our online pranayama classes, where a certified pranayama teacher will mentor, guide and inspire you throughout your training duration.
Pranayama Guide for Beginners - Pranayama FAQ - The Panch Kosha
Is it different from yoga?
Pranayama is a branch of yoga.
Yoga is a comprehensive discipline which includes various physical, mental and spiritual practices.
Pranayama is a set of breathing techniques and patterns. It focuses on fine tuning the subtle energy currents and helps prana flow freely through the body.
What is pranayama?
‘Pran’ (प्राण) is a Sanskrit word, it means essential life force while ‘ayama’ means expansion. So pranayama is a set of techniques to expand our ‘prana’ energy in such a way that it improves our physical and mental wellness.
What should be done first? Asana or Pranayama?
As mentioned in Patanjali’s Yoga Sutra, pranayama, the fourth limb or stage of yoga comes after the third limb ‘asana’.
You should prepare your body by warming up with asanas before trying the breathing techniques.
What are the different types of pranayama?
There are different types of pranayama breathing with numerous beneficial effects.
While Dirgha Pranayama or “Three-Part Breath” is known to increase oxygen flow into the blood, Sitali Pranayama or “Cooling Breath” reduces excess heat in the body.
Nadi Shodhan or “Alternate Nostril Breathing” practice is useful in relieving stress whereas Bhramari Pranayama or “Humming Bee Breath” has been found to improve the quality of sleep.
Ujjayi Pranayama which means “Victorious Breath” or often termed “Ocean Breath” helps in stress relief, in regulating body temperature, and improving concentration.
Besides keeping the digestive and respiratory systems healthy, Bhastrika Pranayam or “Bellows Breath” can be effective in treating depression and anxiety.
“Viloma Pranayama” or “Against The Wave” boosts energy levels and cools the body.
Some of these methods can be practiced together to complement each other’s unique benefits.
Which pranayama is the best for beginners?
Dirgha Pranayama training is a great way to start working on your breath because it is one of the most basic pranayama techniques for beginners. You just have to lie down and breathe in and out to your belly’s full capacity. Pay close attention and observe the belly rise as you inhale and fall as you exhale.
Also make sure if this technique is suitable for you and also if you are doing it the right way. To achieve this, you can securely enroll yourself in some reliable online pranayama classes.
Which pranayama will be most effective for me?
Anulom-vilom Pranayama, Kapalbhati Pranayama and Bhastrika Pranayama are some of the best breathing exercises to be included in your fitness routine. These are also among the simplest ones to start with while learning pranayama yoga online.
How can I get started at home?
There is no need for any special props or equipment. All you need is a clean, well-ventilated room at your home to begin to indulge in this healthy habit.
However, it should be repeated that all breathing techniques are not advisable for everyone. They may or may not suit your body type. For example, Sheetali Pranayama should not be practiced during winter or if you have a cough or cold. So, please refrain from trying these techniques at home without being supervised by a certified pranayama teacher.
Is this practice the same as breathwork?
Breathwork refers to any type of breathing exercises. It is much more than taking a deep breath to relax.
Pranayama is a formal type of breathwork that has ancient origins. This art has been passed on to us by yogis who used to practice it around 6th to 5th centuries BCE.
Is pranayama the same as deep breathing?
No. But, deep breathing is a type of pranayama. You can find this method in meditation and Kundalini yoga.
How long should I do pranayama as a beginner?
When trying a new breathing exercise, do it for not more than 1 minute and then stop. Pay close attention. Does it feel right? Do you feel any kind of discomfort? Or, do you feel better? Start with the bare minimum and then keep slowly increasing the time every week.
What happens when you do pranayama every day?
Besides making you more relaxed, calm and peaceful, attending pranayama yoga online classes can improve your physical health including lungs’ capacity, blood pressure, digestive system and brain functions.
How long does it take to see the results?
It varies from person to person. One may see some changes on the very first day as well. Real results begin to appear usually after a couple of weeks.
Usually people begin with 1-2 minutes and gradually increase their practice to 15 minutes every day when they learn pranayama online.
Which pranayama technique is best for the brain?
Depends on your unique constitution, your current individual needs and challenges.
What should I do first, Anulom Vilom or Kapalbhati?
You should begin with Kapalbhati to warm up the body and then proceed to Anulom Vilom because the latter is a more subtler breathing practice.
What is the best time to do pranayama?
The best time to practice breathing exercises is at dawn with an empty stomach. Another appropriate time is before sunset when at least 3-4 hours should have passed after your last meal. Stick to this rule when you learn pranayama online.
When should pranayama not be done?
Do not get started immediately after having meals. In addition, people with underlying health issues should exercise caution, should be very gentle and slow when they take up any kind of breathing exercises. Some methods like Kapalbhati and Bhastrika should never be done by people suffering from heart disease, high blood pressure, or hernia.
So you might want to seek advice from professional yoga teachers who have intensive knowledge about various techniques and variations of pranayama.
When in doubt, register for a demo session of pranayama yoga online in order to start at the beginners’ level and then moving on to more advanced levels of pranayama training.