Pranayama: The Yogic Breathing
Overview of pranayama
Sage Patanjali describes pranayama, that is, yogic breathing, as the control of Prana by regulating the motions of inhalation and exhalation. In other words, yogic breathing is the regulation of the incoming (svaasa) and outgoing (prasvaasa) flow of breath with retention (Tasmin sati svaasa prasvaasayah gativichedah pranayamah) (Yoga Sutra II-49). Pranayama is the fourth and most important part (anga, step) in Asthanga yoga.1 Studies on breathing have shown that the method of respiration affects the whole organism.
There are four techniques purka, kumbhaka, rechaka, bahya kumbhaka. All these four acts together constitute one cycle of respiration.
Types of Pranayama
There are many varieties of pranayama whose mentions are found in traditional Yoga books. However, only 10 varieties are given. They are Sukhapoorvaka Pranayama, Suryabhedhana Pranayama, Chandrabhedhana Pranayama, Ujjayi Pranayama, Bhastrika Pranayama, Nadishodhana Pranayama, Sitali Pranayama, Sitkari Pranayama, Sadanta Pranayama, Anuloma Viloma Pranayama
Precautions to be Taken while Practicing Pranayama
Before the practice of any Pranayama, a few precautionary measures are to be taken as indicated. Bladder should be emptied and bowels to be evacuated. Place chosen should have enough air circulation and light.
Written by: healthplus24 team
Date last updated: March 10, 2012