6 pranayama, or breathing exercises, you can do to meditate

·4-min read

Pranayama is an ancient Indian technique that was developed thousands of years ago. It uses breathing techniques similar to yoga to enhance the health and well-being of the body. 

The primary purpose of the breathing exercises is to purify the mind, body and environment. 

Pranayama refreshes you physically and mentally by recalling the sand.

Photo by Andrea Piacquadio from Pexels
Photo by Andrea Piacquadio from Pexels

Here are some asanas you can perform to bring your focus on your breathing to get into a meditative space of mind:

Dirgha Pranayama (Three-Part Breath)

This asana is a combination of yoga breathing exercises, controlled movements, and deep breathing. This technique teaches us to combine our physical, mental, and spiritual well-being. The physical activities help us strengthen our muscles and joints, making our body flexible and well balanced. This particular asana for meditation will allow us to relax and de-stress our mind. By controlling the three aspects of our mind, we will make it go in a smooth motion. The best way to master this technique is to practice everyday meditation.

Ujjayi Pranayama

This asana is to internalise the power of life. If we want to get in touch with our true essence, we have to experience it on a physical level, and that is through physical exercise. Ujjayi pranayama can be learned in both forms - as a sannyasa (fast) or kapha (meditative) practice. In both states, the student will inhale a quantity of air followed by exhalation gradually and in a profound manner.

Ujjayi means "eight breaths", and that's what it does. The asana is more focused on calming the mind, although the sannyasa version is less about ordering, more on opening up the energy channels. Breathing is one of the most potent self-control skills in all of the discipline. The Ujjayi pranayama can be practised by anyone, anywhere.

Kapalabhati (Skull-shining breathing)

Kapalabhati is a form of deep diaphragmatic breathing which will help your mind and body to go into a deep meditative state. As you sit, straighten your back, and place both hands on the lap; open your chest as wide as possible, making an 'O' with your hands.

Breathe deeply through your nose and out your mouth, slowly filling your lungs. Let all your anxiety and tension slip from your body.

Start at the top of your head, breathing in through your nose, and letting all thought slip from your mind. Move slowly down until your hands are resting comfortably on your lap. Do the same with each hand, but begin at the bottom again. The more you practice this, the more relaxed and centred you will become.

Nadi shodhana pranayama

This asana has several different benefits. Allows the person to experience the ultimate in meditation and to control the muscles and internal system. Also extremely beneficial to the health of the lungs and other internal organs.

'Nadi shodhana pranayama' uses breathing techniques to clear the body of impurities. The purification process can take up to 15 minutes, but it is recommended to spend at least half that time concentrating on each breath. It is this focus that will allow the person to achieve the ultimate benefits of pure meditation.

Simha pranayama

This asana is a form of yoga where you don't have to hold anything. Instead, as you are in mediation, you close your eyes and breathe deeply and slowly from your diaphragm, moving your abdomen out and in.

The name Simha comes from 'Simhan' meaning lion and 'Pranayama' meaning breath. These two things go hand in hand when performing this technique. Lion's breath is used for cleansing, refreshing and rejuvenating. Simha pranayama helps to detoxify and purify the body. It also strengthens the muscles and increases flexibility. Just focus your mind on your breathing and allow your body to relax and start moving your muscles until you feel comfortable.

Kapalabhati (Alternate nostril)

In this asana you only exhale from 'one nostril at a time'. The reason that alternate nostril Kapalabhati has become a popular Yoga breathing technique is the feeling of freedom and lightness that one experiences during this breathing exercise.

While you are in a relaxed state of mind, you can more easily focus on your breathing and become aware of the changes taking place inside of your body as you breathe. In other words, alternate nostril breathing allows you to be in tune with the changes taking place within your body, thus allowing you to make better choices regarding how you will behave and react to what is happening.

When you perform this pranayama, you should inhale the air slowly through your nostrils and exhale the same lips. It relieves stress and fatigue by inducing sleep and getting rid of all the pain and ailments. So, keep practising these breathing asanas to enjoy a healthy life full of positive vibes.

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