Pranayam – The Control over Forces of Life


Prayanam is a word composed of two Sanskrit words “Prana” and “ayam”. Prana means life forces mainly breathe and ayam means to control or to give a rhythm or a definite flow. Pranayam is basically control over life forces by controlling the breath. The techniques of Pranayam regulate fresh air to various parts of our body. The air is inhaled, retained inside and then exhaled. Breathing the process on which human life depends. The normal breathing and the breathing in Pranayam are different. The former breathing has nothing to do with the mind but the later technique includes control and that is done by mind. For example while we are involved in a day to day task we don’t even know about the duration of inhale and exhale. But during pranayam we know that air is going in, retained and then exhaled. The result of this controlled inhalation and exhalation, both in respect of speed and time has a mere beneficial effect on the mind and the body than that of the natural process.

Things to Consider

  • For doing Pranayam, select a place which is clean and calm. Like a place near pond, river or swimming pool in your society.
  • Sit in any yoga posture like padmasna, sidhasana or Vajrasana, which ever you are comfortable in. Use a cotton or wool sheet because they are bad conductors of electricity.
  • Breathing should be done through nose only by doing so the air which you inhale is filtered.
  • Preferably it should be done in the morning before dawn after doing your daily routine work (clean teeth and stomach).
  • In the beginning it should be done for 5 – 10 min but gradually the time should be increased. Remember your stomach should be clean as it is very important for Kapal-Bhati
  • Keep your mind calm and fresh.
  • Pranayam should be done before Yoga. It’s like warm up.
  • Do not strain or stress yourself by seeing other people doing better than you. Each one has different stamina and body type. If you feel fatigued, rest for sometime and then begin.
  • Maintain a system and rhythm. Do not change frequently.
  • The process should be complete i.e. inhale, retain and exhale.

The major Pranayams are as follows:

  • Bhramari Pranayam
  • Anulom Vilom Pranayam
  • Kapal Bhati Pranayam
  • Baharya Pranayam
  • Bhastrika Pranayam
  • Udgeet Pranayam
  • Ujjayi Pranayam

Bhramari Pranayam

How to do it?

Breathe in till your lungs are full of air. close your ears with thumbs, eyes with middle fingers witha little pressure. Press your forehead with Index fingers. Press the gap between eyes and nostrills with the remaining fingers. and concentrate your mind between the eye-brows i.e. Ajna Chakra. While releasing air make a humming sound.

Duration :5 to 10 Times
Benefits : helps in tension, hypertension, high BP, heart, heart blockage, paralysis, migraine pain, confidence & concentration.

Anulom Vilom Pranayam

How to do it?

Sit in Sukha Asana close your eyes and block your right nasal with right thumb and take a deep breathe with the open nasal (left nasal), now close the left nasal with your middle finger and breathe out from right nasal. Now inhale from right and exhale from left. Repeat the process.

Duration : You should do it for at least 10 minutes and gradually increase up to 1 hour maximum
Benefits : heart, high Blood Pressure, bent ligaments, sinual fluid reduced, Parkinson, paralysis, neural related, depression, heart blockage, arthritis, cartilage, migraine pain, asthma, sinus, allergy etc.

Kapal Bhati Pranayam

How to do it?

Sit in Sukha Asana, close your eyes and take a deep breathe. Exhale the air forcefully through your nose and while doing so your stomach should squeeze in. Just like when we sneeze. This process of inhale till exhale should take about 2 – 3 seconds. People with BP problem should take extra care while doing Kapal Bhati.

Duration: You should start it with 30 times or 1 minute and increase upto 5 mins minutes upto 15 minutes maximum.
Benefits: aabha, tej, cholesterol, allergic problems, asthma, snoring, concentration, uterus, diabetes, stomach problems, obesity, constipation, gastric, acidity, Croesus(liver), hepatitis B and even cancer and AIDS.

Baharya Pranayam

How to do it?

Sit in Sukha Asana, close your eyes and exhale completely. Touch your chin to your chest squeeze in your stomach as far as possible. Hold for a while, chin up and inhale slowly.

Duration : 3 times to 5 times normally. max up to 11 times. and extremely max up to 21 times (in winters).
Benefits : stomach(udar), hernia, urinal, uterus, kidney problems, bladder problems, sex related problems
Tips : Not for heart and high BP patients

Bhastrika Pranayam

How to do it?

The simplest of all is the bhastrika pranayam. In this pranayam, sit in sukha asana, close your eyes and take a deep breath. Hold for a while and release completely.

Duration: Do it for at least 2 minutes and 5 minutes maximum.
Benefits : heart, lungs, neural system, aabha, depression, migraine, paralysis, asthma, respiratory diseases of all kinds, Diseases like cold, cough, allergy,brain, are cured. Lungs become strong and due to the heart and head getting adequate quantity of pure and fresh air, health is improved. Diseases of the throat like thyroid, tonsils and other ailments of throat.

Udgeet Pranayam

How to do it?

Sit in Sukha Asana, close your eyes and take a deep breath. hold for a while and release through mouth with “OM” sound. When you say Om “o″ should be in 1 part and other 3 parts should be “m”

Duration : 10 times or more
Benefits : meditation

Ujjayi Pranayam

How to do it?

Inhale with a stiff and tight throat. When you do so the tight throat makes a loud sound. After inhaling completely close one nostril with thumb and exhale completely from the other nostril. If the explanation provided here is not sufficient for this pranayam, watch the video on youtube you’ll get a better idea for how to do it exactly

Duration: 1 to 5 times
Benefits: Works for thyroid, Snoring & Throat problems.