The Most Beneficial Pranayam Techniques (Part 1)

kapal BhatiThe ancient Indian forms of breath exercise, which date back to Vedic times; known as Pranayam is gaining tremendous popularity in recent times.

In India, there are entire TV channels devoted to this where people can receive instruction on how to do Pranayam.

These breathing exercises are based on a basic premise that on a day to day basis, not enough oxygen reaches our organs and this is why our organs do not function optimally, giving rise to disorders increasing susceptibility to diseases.

Pranayam also is a way to increase the mental conviction that one is gaining good health and becoming disease free. It is a way of strengthening not only one’s body but also one’s will to fight disease. It is a belief system that the body is what the mind believes, and this has worked to tremendous effect people all over the world.

There are some of the most effective basic Pranayam techniques, all of which are to be performed while sitting erect in a lotus position (padmasana if the person is comfortable or with your legs folded, whatever is comfortable) and with the eyes closed:

Bhastrika Pranayam

This is basic deep breathing Pranayam. Draw the breath in deeply through the nose and slowly and then release also deeply and in an equal duration of time. The abdominal cavity should not expand at the release of the breath.

This can be done slowly, at a medium pace or fast, depending on the capacity of the individual. While breathing in, the person should mentally resolve that all the Positive energy and joy and peace of the universe is entering into the body. Between 5 and 10 minutes of this manner of breathing is seem to be very beneficial.

Kapal Bhati

In this Pranayam, the focus is on breathing out forcefully through both nostrils. There is no need to consciously breathe in; the body does this automatically and without actual effort. The concentration should be on breathing out and at the same time compressing the abdominal wall.

A fit person can do this as rapidly as once in a second making it possible to complete 300 breaths in 5 minutes. While breathing out, one must resolve to rid the body and the mind of all negative energy, disease, harmful thoughts etc. thereby cleansing the body and mind at the same time as expelling the breath. This exercises the abdomen and internal organs effectively.

The other major pranayams of Anulom Vilom, Bhramri, Bahya, Bhramri, Udgeet and Pranav will be covered in Part II.