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Pranayama is an important part of yoga. It is a breathing exercise in yoga. This practice strengthens the respiratory system and energizes the body. However, this practice should be perform with some precautions. Practicing with discipline is beneficial.  What is pranayama, and how to practice? It will be described in detail in the following article.

(For more details read this article in Hidi also :- प्राणायाम पतंजलि योग में)

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Subject of this Article :-

• What is Pranayama in Patanjali Yoga?
• How to practice it?
• Main Pranayama Practice.
  1. Deep Breathing.
  2. Kapalbhati.
  3. AnulomVilom.
  4. Bhastrika.
  5. Nadi Shodhan.

• Precautions for Pranayama.

What is Pranayama? What are its methods?

Pranayama is the fourth stage of "Ashtangyoga". This is an activity based on breathing. It is made up of two words “Pran” and “Ayam”. “Prana” is the life-giving energy of the body, and “Ayama” means “to reach a certain height”. It means that, giving a right direction to the "life energy" is Pranayam.

Pranayama: In Patanjali Yoga.

According to Maharishi Patanjali, Pranayama is a state of breathing. Generally, our breathing has two stages: 1. Inhalation.
2. Exhalation.
But there are these three stages in Pranayama: -
1. Inhaling.
2. Exhaling.
3. Holding the breath.

These three stages are important in Pranayama. But in Patanjali Yoga, the “breath-holding position” has been described as the real “Pranayama”. While defining Pranayama, Maharishi Patanjali gives a “sutra” :-

श्वासप्रश्वासयोर्गतिविच्छेद:प्राणायाम:(Yogsutra 2.49)

 (Shvasa prasvasayor gati vicchhadah Pranayama.)

In this sutra, Maharishi Patanjali explains that holding the state of inhalation and exhalation for a short time (as per capacity) is Pranayam.

How to practice Pranayama?

This is a beneficial and energizing practice of Yoga. But this exercise should be done with correct method and some precautions. Doing Pranayama in the right way is more beneficial.

Correct method of Pranayama.

• Morning time is considered best for practicing yoga. But practice can be done at any other time of the day also.

• Yoga should be practiced on an empty stomach. Do not exercise immediately after eating.

• First of all practice asanas, after asanas pranayama should be practiced.

• After practicing the asana, lie down for a short time and relax.

• After rest, sit in Padmasana, Sukhasana or any relaxing pose for Pranayama.

• Practice according to your body condition.

Main Pranayama Practices.

Pranayama should be practiced as per one's capacity. Some commonly performed pranayama will be described further in this article.

1. Shvasa-Prashvas (Deep Breathing):

This is a simple pranayam for beginners. Deep breathing should be practiced at the beginning of Pranayama practice.


• Sit in Padmasana or Sukhasana.

• Keep the spine and neck straight.

• Close the eyes gently.

• Inhale slowly and deeply.

• After a full inhalation, exhale slowly and steadily.

• This completes one cycle of deep breathing. Repeat again this practice. after completing five deep breathing- cycles, breathe normally. And practice the next Pranayama.

2. Kapalbhati.

"Kapalbhati" is an important practice of yoga. This is an effective exercise for the skull (brain).

How to practice it?

• Sit in a pose like 'Padmasana' or 'Sukhasana'.

• Place both hands on the knees. Keep the spine and neck straight. Softly close the eyes.

• Exhale forcefully through both nostrils, pulling the abdomen in side. Keep the inhalation normally.

• Practice according to your capacity and then return to normal breathing.

• Follow up with the next exercise, Anulom Vilom.

3. Anulom Vilom.

Anulom Vilom is a beneficial exercise after Kapalbhati.

How to practice it?

• Keep your left hand on your left knee in the Gyana mudra.

• Place your right hand near the nostril.

• Close the right nostril with the right thumb and inhale through the left nostril.

• After inhaling completely, close the left nostril with the ring finger, release the right nostril, and exhale.

• After exhaling fully, inhale through the right nostril, close it, release the left nostril, and exhale.

• Repeat this for five cycles, then return to normal breathing before moving to the next exercise.

Read in detail :- Kapalbhati-Anulom Vilom.

4. Bhastrika Pranayama. (Only in winter.)

In thewimter season, practice Bhastrika Pranayama. Don't practice this Pranayama in summer.

Procedure :-

• Sit in a straight position in Padmasana or Sukhasana pose.

• Place both hands on yiur knees. Keep your eyes gently closed.

• Inhale and exhale forcefully through both nostrils, gradually increase the pace.

• After practicing according to your capacity, return to normal breathing. And relax.

• Once your breath is normal, practice the next pranayama.

Read in more detail :- What is Bhastrika?

5. Nadi Shodhan Pranayama.

Nadi Shodhan pranayama is a practice that purifies the energy-channels of body.


• Sit in "Padmasana" or "Sukhasana" pose. Place the left hand on the left knee in "Gyan Mudra." Keep the right hand near the nose.

• Use the right thumb to close the right nostril. Inhale through the left nostril.

• Close the left nostril with right ring-finger after a full breath. Hold the breath according to your capacity.

• Exhale through the right nostril. After full exhale, Inhale through the right nostril. Hold the breath according to your capacity.

• Repeat this cycle for 2 or 3 rounds initially.

• After completing the practice, breathe normally and relax.

Precautions for Pranayama.

• Practice pranayama according to your body's capacity. Avoid practicing beyond your capability or forcefully.

• Do not hold your breath for an extended period, especially if you are a new practitioner.

• Individuals with respiratory issues should avoid practices that involve holding the breath.

Summary :-

Pranayama is an excellent activity of yoga. This is an exercise that gives energy to the body. This exercise should be done according to the capacity of breathing.

Disclaimer :-

The exercises mentioned in the article are only for healthy people. Respiratory patients should not practice pranayam.

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