What is the importance of breathing in Yoga – how to breathe right?

breathing in yoga

Date 08 Dec, 2021

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Breathing in yoga, specially, breathing right is given prime importance when you undergo Yoga training.

Breath is the first thing we take when we are born on this planet, and it is the final thing we give up when we die. Thus, breath is the fundamental initial stepping stone on our life's journey, and it is the final step that marks the end of this trip. Isn’t it so beautiful, to realise one of the absolute truth that is same for every living entity on this earth that is “breath”.

According to the sages, life is a journey in which the ultimate destination is an illusion since no one knows what it is. As a result, I'd want to make a modest plea to all of my gorgeous, precious souls: consider your entire life to be a trip that you're embarking on.

Furthermore, whether you are aware of it or not, you are able to travel because you are clutching the invisible thread of your breath that keeps you all alive. Furthermore, the realization that "I am still alive" comes to you with each and every breath that you take every second.

Yoga is an ART and a SCIENCE of life, hence one of the eight limbs of yoga is dedicated to the art and science of breathing method known as "Pranayama."

What is Yoga & the importance of breathing in Yoga?

The term 'Yoga' comes from the Sanskrit origin 'Yuj,' which means 'to connect or unify.' Yoga, according to Yogic teachings, leads to the unification of individual consciousness with that of the Absolute truth, implying full mind-body harmony.

What are the breathing techniques in Yoga?

Pranayama is the discipline of regulating one's breath. It's a key component of yoga, a kind of exercise that promotes both physical and emotional well-being. "Prana" signifies life energy in Sanskrit, while "yama" implies control. Pranayama is a breathing technique that comprises exercises and patterns.

Why do we need to practice it?

Breath is the fundamental life energy that allows us to sustain our entire being. To be honest, every person on the planet is alive because they are breathing. As a result, we all unknowingly practise it on a regular basis, but it is only through yogic insight that one becomes cognizant of this process and performs it under proper direction to create a state of peace.

Pranayama is an essential step out of eight limbs of yoga, that prepares a practitioner to become eligible enough to gain full benefits of meditation.

Breathing is what causes energy to flow and what allows our whole existence to achieve a state of bliss and peace.

There are three main stages in which pranayama can be completed:

  • Purak (breathing in through nostrils)
  • Kumbhak (holding breath)
  • Rechak (breathing out)

What are the various types of pranayama?

There are various types of pranayama such as:

  • Natural breathing
  • Basic abdominal breathing
  • Nadi sodhana
  • Clavicular breathing
  • Yogic breathing Pranayama
  • Deep breathing with ratios
  • Fast breathing
  • Viloma breathing
  • Anulom Vilom- Alternative Nostril breathing
  • Cooling breath – Sheetali, Sitkari, kaki mudra
  • Ujjai breathing Pranayama
  • Bhramari Pranayama
  • Bhastrika Pranayama
  • Surya bhedan Pranayama

Primary Pranayama techniques defined

Ujjayi Pranayama -'Ocean Breath':

Uj means upward and jayi means victory. Ujjayi pranayama involves breathing in through both nostrils, followed by breathing out air through emphasis on throat region and left nostril. It’s meant to recreate the sound of ocean waves, while breathing out rubbing the voice box area. Closing your mouth, then breath in through both nostrils and breath out, focusing on your voice box region, through your nose.

Take an inhalation through your nose that is slightly deeper than normal. Exhale slowly through your nose while constricting the muscles in the back of your throat.

Bhramari Pranayama

Humming bee pranayama is another name for it. The word bhramari comes from the Sanskrit word brahmar, which means "bee." In this technique, the emphasis is kept on making the bee buzzing sound during exhalation. The reverberation created during practise can aid in the activation of the penial gland. As a result, it might help to relax the body and mind.

Bhramari Pranayama Steps includes:

  • Sit in Padmasana or any other Asana that allows you to sit comfortably.
  • Close your eyes and take a few deep breaths.
  • With your thumbs, shut the lids or flaps of your ears.
  • Place your index finger slightly over your brows and the rest of your fingers, including your middle fingers, over your eyes.
  • Using very little pressure on the sides of your nose.
  • Now focus your attention on the space between your brows.
  • Keep your lips shut and exhale softly via your nose while generating an Om humming sound.
  • Repeat this process five times more. The crucial thing to remember is that when performing this Pranayama, you are assuming that you are connected to all of the universe's beneficial energy.

Alternative nostril breath

  • Sit in Padmasana.
  • Move your forefinger and middle finger out of the way as you bring your right hand up to your nose. Your thumb should be placed on your right nose.
  • Close your eyes and exhale widely and slowly through your left nostril while covering this nostril.
  • Release your right nostril and place your ring finger on the left nose after you've totally breathed.
  • Inhale gently and deeply from the right side. Make sure you're breathing smoothly and steadily.
  • Exhale via your right nostril once you've completed your inhalation.
  • Close your right nostril with your thumb after releasing your ring finger. Inhale deeply and exhale deeply through your left nostril.
  • Repeat the entire procedure two or more times.

What is the significance of Pranayama?

Pranayama is very basic way of starting your yogic journey and the best aspect of it is they can be practiced by anybody. Further, there are various types of pranayama that can be taught and learnt as per the individual capability and age. The major significance of pranayama is to achieve a healthy state of mind and body so that one can enter easily into practice of meditation. Apart from that there are many health benefits associated with it.

Health benefits of Pranyama:

  • Stress reduction and stress management.
  • Helps to support the process of treatment various life style disorders such as Psoriasis, hypertension, high blood pressure, thyroid disorders and many more.
  • Improves sleep quality.
  • Increases mindfulness.
  • Regular practice of pranayama ensures proper provision of oxygen throughout our system. As a result, there is proper circulation of oxygenated blood throughout our system. Hence, there is significant improvement in cardiovascular functioning of your body.
  • Improves lung function.
  • Enhances cognitive performance.
  • Ideal body weight management.
  • Detoxification
  • Strengthening of immune system
  • Remove blemishes and wrinkles and enhance the skin glow.
  • Nadi shudhi.
  • Increases positive prana in our system.

Practice pranayama to start the inner journey to achieve a peaceful mind, body and soul.

How can I add breathing techniques in my daily routine?

After learning the pranayama from our experienced yoga teachers, one not only become eligible to implement this knowledge in one’s own life but also one can teach this ancient science of pranayama to others.

How can I achieve the correct authentic Pranayama knowledge?

If you are a beginner looking forward to learn authentic ways of doing pranayama practice based on yoga philosophy, then come and join our 7 days breath and pranayama retreat program.

Those who are seeking to learn not only pranayama but also the complete yogic wisdom then I would suggest join our 100 hours yoga teacher training program for 12 days

Additional Reading: Mindbodygreen

Prachi Pokhriyal
RYS 500 hours Yoga Alliance certified yoga teacher, yoga therapist, nutritionist and diet counselor, website content writer, communication, and business development manager.