You are on page 1of 16

Pranayam:

Introduction to Breathing
Techniques
LEI 3723L
MINDFULNESS & STRESS MANAGEMENT FACILITATION
TECHNIQUES
Pranayama
In yoga, it is the formal practice of controlling the breath
Prana = Life Force
Yama = to control or regulate
Pranayama = breath control

We can use the breath in a variety of ways:


Energize the body
Clear the mind
Reduce physical pain
Improve concentration
Alleviate anxiety
Induce state of relaxation
Parts of the Breath
Pranayama is divided into 3 phases:
Inhalation (puraka) -> Nourishment, energy, warmth, vitality
Breath Retention (kumbhaka) -> Creating pathways within the body
Exhalation (rechaka) -> Cleansing, cooling, restorative, calming

Pranayama exercises are based on manipulating the


duration of these 3 phases
Anatomy of Breathing

Breathing involves the


shape change of 2 body
cavities:
Thoracic cavity
Abdominal cavity
Diaphragm
Dome shaped muscle
that separate the
thoracic cavity from the
abdominal cavity and
plays a major role in
Diaphragm
breathing attached at:
Sternum
Lower Ribs
Lumbar Spine

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hp-gCvW8PRY

One of the best ways to practice


engaging diaphragm is lying down on
back with knees up
Breathing Techniques
1. Dirga Pranayama (3 Part Breathing)
2. Ujjayi Pranayama (Ocean Breath)
3. Nadi Shodhana (Alternate Nostril Breathing)
4. Sithali/Sitkari Pranayama (Cooling Breath)
Dirga Pranayama (3 part breath)
Great breathing exercise for beginners
One of the most nourishing, calming, grounding
breathing exercises you can do

BENEFITS:
Focusing attention on present moment
Increases lung capacity
Lowers blood pressure
Dirga Pranayama (3 part breath)
3 PARTS OF THE BREATH:
Abdomen
Diaphragm
Chest

INHALE
Airflow: Abdomen -> Ribcage -> Chest
EXHALE
Airflow: Chest -> Ribcage -> Abdomen
Ujjayi Pranayama (Ocean
Breath)
Even inhales and exhales should be both energizing and relaxing
The breath should be long and smooth and is made by constricting
the back of the throat
Creates a subtle internal sound similar to ocean waves
BENEFITS:
Builds internal body heat
Relieves tension
Helps maintain a rhythm in yoga practice
Builds energy
Regulates blood pressure
Ujjayi Pranayama (Ocean
Breath)
FOR BEGINNERS:
Inhale through noise
Exhale out open mouth making
haaaah sound/vibration
(Imagine you are fogging up a
window)

Try for the same effect and maintain


airflow, but with your mouth closed
on the exhale
Ujjayi Pranayama (Ocean
Breath)
Constriction in the back of the throat

Keep this constriction for both the


inhale and the exhale
Nadi Shodhana (Alternate Nostril
Breathing)
Nadi = channel or flow
Shodhana = purification

BENEFITS:
Balances energy channels within body
Restores balance to Right & Left hemispheres of brain
Reduces stress
Help alleviate allergy symptoms
Help regulate circulation
Nadi Shodhana (Alternate Nostril
Breathing)
Right hand into Vishnu mudra

INHALE Right nostril


EXHALE Left nostril
INHALE Left nostril
EXHALE Right nostril

REPEAT
Sithali/Sitkari Pranayama (Cooling
Breath)
The act of drawing the air through/across the tongue and
into the mouth has a cooling/calming effect on nervous
system

BENEFITS:
Helps with insomnia/sleep disturbances
Decreases anxiety
Reduces agitates
Cooling effect on anger
Cooling effect on fever
Sithali/Sitkari Pranayama (Cooling
Breath)
SITHALI:
Stick out tongue and roll like a straw

INHALE: Through tongue


RETENTION: Close mouth and hold air
EXHALE: Out nose
Sithali/Sitkari Pranayama (Cooling
Breath)
If you are unable to roll tongue (genetic trait)
Close teeth but open mouth

INHALE: Through gaps in teeth


RETENTION: Close mouth and hold air
EXHALE: Out nose