If you have a regular yoga practice, incorporate Pranayama in daily life as part of your routine. Start or end your yoga session with specific Pranayama techniques that complement your practice.
Pranayama in Daily Life
Pranayama is a vital aspect of yoga, focusing on controlling and regulating one’s breath to promote holistic well-being. It involves the conscious control and regulation of the breath to achieve a range of physical, mental, and spiritual benefits.
In yoga philosophy, breath is considered a vital life force or energy known as “prana,” and Pranayama practices aim to harness and optimize this energy.
Incorporating pranayama into your daily routine can help you cleanse the energy channels (nadis), enhance lung capacity, enhance cognitive functions, manage emotions & reduce anxiety, trigger the relaxation response, reduce stress, and promote a calm and focused mind.
Let’s delve into daily pranayama practices that can be easily incorporated into our daily routine to reap their benefits.
Pranayama Techniques to Incorporate in Your Daily Routine
It’s essential to maintain proper posture and alignment while practicing pranayama, as this allows for optimal breath control and energy flow.
Before immersing yourself in any pranayam sit in a comfortable cross-legged position, with your spine upright and shoulders relaxed. Place your hands on your knees with palms facing upward.
Here are the five basic pranayama practices, each with steps and benefits.
Nadi Shodhana Pranayama
Alternate-nostril breathing is a type of pranayama or breathing practice, also known as nadi shodhana. As the name suggests, alternate-nostril breathing is the focused practice of breathing through alternate nostrils, one at a time.
- Sit in Padmasana or Sukhasana. Calm your breathing.
- Place the index and middle fingers on the forehead between the eyebrows.
- Close the right nostril with the thumb and fill the breath through the left nostril.
- Close the left nostril with the ring finger and do internal Kumbhaka (hold the breath inside the body) for a few moments.
- Remove the thumb and exhale slowly through the right nostril.
- Then inhale through the right nostril, and close both nostrils.
- Then exhale through the left nostril, this is one repetition of Nadishodhan Pranayam.
- Clears the nadis and releases toxins
- Opens Sushumna channel
- Relieves anxiety and stress
- Calms and rejuvenates the nervous system
- Lowers blood pressure
The proper definition of Kapalbhati Pranayama is, “Shining Head”. Achieving radiance or glow on the head is possible only if you practice this Pranayama in daily life.
- Sit comfortably, keeping your spine straight.
- Take a long deep breath in.
- Exhale quickly and forcefully through your nose, pulling your belly toward your spine as you exhale.
- Relax your stomach and let your breathing return naturally.
- Take 20 exhales to complete one round of Kapalbhati Pranayama.
- Improve blood circulation
- Reduce obesity
- Increases lung strength
- Strengthen the functions of the liver and kidneys
- Soothing sinus and asthma
Bhramari Pranayam is derived from the Sanskrit word Bhramar, which means bumblebee and pranayam means breathing technique, hence it can also be called bee breathing. Bhramari (Bee Breath) is an effective pranayama (breathing exercise) for meditation.
- Sit in any comfortable posture.
- Your index finger should be placed on your forehead.
- The middle finger should be on the medial canthus and the ring finger should be on the corner of your nostril.
- Inhale and fill your lungs with air.
- As you exhale, slowly make a humming sound like a bee, i.e. “mmmmmm.”
- Keep your mouth closed the entire time and feel the vibrations of the sound spreading throughout your body.
- Releases cerebral tension
- Dissipates anger
- Relieves stress and anxiety
- Balances the nervous system
- Sharpens focus and concentration
Ujjayi Pranayama means the pranayam which gives freedom from bondage. By practicing this pranayama, one conquers the wind, that is, conquering one’s breath. While doing Ujjayi Pranayam, a sound similar to that of the sea, hence it is also known as Ocean Breath.
- Sit in any meditation posture and keep your spine straight. Relax the entire body.
- Take long deep breaths slowly and equally through both nostrils.
- Try to contract your throat as you breathe in and feel the touch of air in your throat.
- When air touches the throat a different sound is produced.
- Keep breathing and relax.
- Contract the back of your throat slightly and make a soft whispering sound as you inhale.
- Now close your right nostril and then exhale through the left nostril.
- Now, while inhaling and exhaling the air, you will contract the throat and make a sound, like light snoring or a sound that comes near the sea.
- Repeat this process for 10-12 minutes.
- Calming the mind
- Reducing stress
- Enhancing focus during your yoga practice
- Enhances memory
- Bolsters the immune system
Bhastrika Pranayama, often referred to as the “Bellows Breath,” is a powerful and energizing breathing exercise in yoga. It involves forceful inhalations and exhalations through the nostrils.
- While practicing Bhastrika Pranayam, do not open your mouth at all, take deep breaths through both nostrils.
- Filling your lungs to their maximum capacity.
- Breathe out forcefully through both nostrils, expelling the air from your lungs.
- Increases lung capacity and oxygen intake
- Clears and purifies the respiratory system
- Promotes emotional balance
- Decrease blood sugar levels
- Boosts metabolism and energy levels
Incorporating these pranayama techniques into your daily routine can help you achieve a sense of balance, calm, and increased vitality. It’s important to practice pranayama with proper guidance and gradually build up the duration.
Download the 7pranayama app, which can guide you through daily pranayama routines and offer features such as guided instructions, breathing timers, and progress tracking.
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