Childcare and You

Childcare and You

Monday, February 20, 2012

Pranayam – Yogic Breathing for Your Body and Soul

When the breath wanders, the mind wanders, but when the breath is still, the mind is also still." - Hatha Yoga Pradipika

What is Pranayama

Pranayama is an ancient art of breathing in yoga. Pranayama is a combination of two Sanskrit words, namely, Prana + Ayama. Prana means life force/energy and Ayama means control. In short, Pranayama means control of your energy or life force.

It is usually misunderstood that pranayama is breath control. While it does involve controlling your breath, the actual interpretation of pranayama in the yogic sense is to control your life force that is essentially divine and universal in nature. The ultimate aim of Pranayama is to improve the flow of ‘life force’ through your body, so that it reaches deep into the recesses of your brain and the rest of your body.

Benefits of Pranayama

Breathing is the most important function of your body. It is your life and you cannot survive for five minutes without breathing. However, only by breathing the right way can your body provide adequate oxygen to your brain and to your blood vessels.

All exercises in yoga are deep rooted in the ‘flow of life force’ that vitalizes your body and mind. By performing different breathing techniques of Pranayama, you will be able to direct the ‘prana’ throughout your body and energize your entire nervous system.  

Pranayama helps you to control your breath and in turn, your mind. When you are angry or upset, you breathe shallowly and fast but when you are calm and relaxed, you breathe slowly and steadily. This illustrates the interconnection between your breath and your mind.

Regular practice of pranayam revitalizes and invigorates your body and its functions. At the same time, it enhances your concentrations, sharpens your wits, busts your worries and cleanses your nervous system, filling your mind and body with peace and contentment.

Pranayama is an excellent tool during pregnancy and postpartum care to regain your strength and vitality. It will keep depression at bay and combat anxiety and panic attacks. It helps digestion and relieves constipation.

A combination of pranayam with yogis postures is the highest form of self discipline and purification of body and soul.

In the videos below, I am doing a few basic and important types of pranayama:

Anulom Vilom (Alternate nostril breathing)

Benefits - Clears the nasal passages and strengthens the abdominal muscles.Besides, it fights asthma and other disorders of the nervous system.

Simhasana (Roaring Lion posture)


Benefits -  This asana is effective for better functioning of your thyroid, respiratory tract and your digestive tract. It regulates blood pressure, clears your head of sinuses and tones your facial muscles.

Sheetali (Cooling breath)


In the 'Sheetali Pranayam', you roll your tongue and breathe in the air. Then, close your mouth and bend your head while swallowing the air, at the same time. Raise your head and exhale slowly.

Benefits - Excellent for cooling your body in the summer. It  purifies the blood and lowers tension and blood pressure.

Kapaal bhaati (Quick exhalation)


Benefits - This asana improves circulation, digestion and releases your sinuses. It helps build new body cells and is excellent in toning your abdomen muscles and slowing down the aging process.

Bhramari (humming breath)


Benefits - Its very effective in calming your mind down, reducing anger, agitation, frustration and anxiety. Bhramari means bee, which is why this technique involves humming like a bee.

4)   Incorporate Pranayama into your daily routine and make it a part of your life. Devote about 15 of pranayam every day. Although early morning is the best time to do it, you can do it anytime during the day, provided you have eaten your last meal a couple of hours ago. Doing pranayam before going to bed is also fine. Do it regularly and notice the difference in a few months.


  1. Benefits of pranayama enables yoga practitioners the overall science of breath control. Through learning these pranayama principles, a yoga practitioner will be able to breathe properly that will able his body to bring more oxygen to the blood, brain and all body parts.

  2. Benefits of pranayama is rally effective now a days.


  3. Great a jump start to the day .These videos are very helpful for a beginner ...:)