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Types of Pranayama

There are many varieties of pranayama whose mentions are found in traditional Yoga books. However, only 10 varieties are given below:

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Sukhapoorvaka Pranayama

 Sit in Padmasana or Siddhasana with the head, neck and spinal column kept erect; Close the right nostril with the right thumb and inhale slowly through the left nostril, then close the left nostril with the little and ring fingers of the right hand and retain the air as long as you can, then exhale slowly and completely through the right nostril. With this, half the process is completed. Now repeat the process with the left nostril and follow the process as above. With this, one round is completed. A minimum of 10 rounds should be completed at one sitting. This pranayama purifies the nadis, helps in attaining concentration of mind and increases digestive power and appetite.

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Suryabhedhana Pranayama

In this variety, inhalations are done through the right nostril and exhalations are made through the left nostril, and vice versa. The ratio of inhalation, retention and exhalation of breath should be in the ratio 2:1:2. At least 10 rounds should be completed. The nasal track becomes cleaner and clearer. It induces calmness and tranquility, increases digestive power and generates heat in the body, and is said to be good for persons suffering from low blood pressure.

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Chandrabhedhana Pranayama

This is the opposite of the above variety. In this, the inhalation is done always through the left nostril (Ida or Chandra Nadi) and exhalations through the right nostril (Pingala or Surya Nadi). The method is the same as in the case of Suryabhedhana Pranayama. This pranayama cools the system, unlike that of Suryabhedhana Pranayama, which generates heat. Other benefits are similar. However, both the above pranayamas should not be practiced on the same day.

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Ujjayi Pranayama

In this variety, the lungs get completely expanded. The chest is thrust outwards like that of a conqueror. Sit in any comfortable position ensuring that the back and spinal column are firm and erect and start exhaling slowly and completely through both the nostrils. Now breathe in slowly till you feel the filling up of lungs fully and evenly and then breathe out completely and evenly. Repeat the process at least 5–10 times and then rest in Savasana for a few minutes. This pranayama invigorates the nervous system, calms the brain and highly beneficial for those with cardiac disorders, hypertension, low BP, asthma and depression.

Bhastrika Pranayama

In this method, inhalation and exhalation are done by both the nostrils with closed mouth, resembling the bellows of a blacksmith, which continuously dilate and contract. This is considered one of the best, as it will help the practitioner to be free from any disease, stomach disorders, breathing problems and asthma. Also, relieves throat inflammation, vanishes phlegm formation and increases appetite.

Nadishodhana Pranayama

This means purification of nerves. It is said that the human body consists of 72,000 nadis for flow of energy and practicing of this variety helps to keep the nadis in a healthy state and prevention of decay, concentration of mind, strengthening of lungs because of increase in intake of air. Nasal passages get cleared.

Sitali Pranayama

As the name indicates, the system is expected to get cooled by practicing this variety. Unlike the other types of pranayama where inhalation is done through the nostrils, here it is done through the mouth with the formation of a curled tongue. This variety helps in cooling the system improves digestion, activates liver and spleen, quenches thirst, soothes the eyes and ears. An added advantage is the same can be practiced even if a person has blocked nostrils.

Sitkari Pranayama

This is similar to Sitali Pranayama with slight variation. In Sitali, the tongue is curled whereas in Sitkari, the tongue is protruded slightly and kept flat and the breath is drawn between the lips with a mild sound. The benefits are similar to that of Sitali, and can be practiced even if one has blocked nostrils.

Sadanta Pranayama

Like Sitali and Sitkari, this is also a cooling variety. These three varieties are basically those, which give coolness to the body and calmness to the mind. In this variety, inhalation is done through the crevices of the teeth. The practitioner achieves an overall cooling effect. Most importantly, muscles get relaxed, blood pressure gets reduced and peace and tranquility of mind is achieved.

Anuloma Viloma Pranayama

This is a variety of pranayama wherein breathing is done slowly, steadily and continuously, and the time taken for inhalation and exhalation should preferably be equal (e.g.: Puraka=20 seconds, Rechaka=20 seconds). There is no holding of breath (Kumbhaka). Practicing of this variety helps in activating and energizing the lungs and to get over breathing problems, stomach disorders and, above all, keeping the mind calm.

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Written by: healthplus24.com team

Date last updated: February 05, 2015