Breath is the basic life force in a living being. Most students have appreciated the role of Yoga in controlling breath. Breath has a tremendous power to heal and to rejuvenate. Its importance in therapeutic cases cannot be undermined. Swami Ramdev has revolutionised the use of various breathing techniques or Pranayama all across North India. So, what are the different uses of breath?
According to Hatha Yoga Pradipika pranayama should be practised four times a day, in the early morning, evening and midnight, with 80 cycles at a time. The best seasons to practise pranayama are spring and autumn, when the climate is equable. Pranayama should be done in a clean airy place and preferably seated on the floor on a folded blanket. Suitable postures for that are Virasana, Padmasana and Baddhakonasana with an erect back and chin resting in the notch between the collar-bones and eyes lightly shut. So here are the various types of basic pranayama for starters:
Nadi Shodhana Pranayama
Sodhana means purifying or cleansing, so the object of Nadi Shodhana Pranayama is the purification of the nerves.
Repeat 8 to 10 cycles. This should take about 6 to 8 minutes.
Bhastrika means a bellows used in a furnace. Sitting in the same posture, follow this technique-
Kapala means skull and Bhati means light; this is a milder form of Bhastrika Pranayama.
Do a few cycles of Kapalabhati if Bhastrika feels strenuous.
Benefits of Pranayama
While Bhastrika and Kapalabhati activate and invigorate the liver, spleen, pancreas and abdominal muscles; digestion is improved and sinuses are drained Nadi Shodhana is good for soothing the nerves. The real disclaimer here is that those suffering from high or low blood pressure, heart ailments or eye or ear complaints (pus in the ear, detachment of the retina) should avoid doing strenuous pranayama and perform 10 to 15 simple deep breathing cycles without holding the breath.