Key elements of Raja Yoga : Asana & Pranayama

Comfortable and steady posture. Photo Credit: Coni Hörler

Asana (posture) and Pranayama are the 3rd and 4th limbs in the text of Patanjali Yoga Sutra. Asana literally means ‘seat’. In the text of Patanjali Yoga Sutra, Asana is described as a seat of meditation. In the second chapter, verse 46; Patanjali defines asana as ‘sthiram sukham asanam’. This verse is translated as ‘posture (should be) steady and comfortable’. While defining posture Patanjali was well aware of the body-mind connection. Therefore he puts asana after Yama (social codes of conduct) and Niyama (personal codes of conduct). He knows that having practised or incorporated the aspects of Yama and Niyama in life, sitting steady is possible. Sthirta (steadiness) of the body is only possible when one has channelled the mental energies. Otherwise sitting still is a big task.

In Raja Yoga tradition of Patanjali, yoga posture is primarily used as a seat to meditate. He also uses the term ‘sukham’ (pleasant/comfortable) as one of the states experienced while in an asana. Here sukham stands for spontaneity or the mastery one attains after perfecting the discipline of Hatha Yoga.  Sage Patanjali further expounds that to reach the state of ‘sthiram’ (steadiness) and ‘sukham’ (spontaneity) one should relax all one’s efforts. In verse 47 in the 2nd chapter of Yoga Sutra, he mentions that ‘by relaxing the effort (prayatna shaithalya) and by fusing the mind with (samapattibhyam) the infinite principle (ananta), asana is mastered. Here the infinite or divine principle is Purusha (witness principle or atman), which should be the point of focus during the practice.

As long as there is struggle and resistance experienced in the asana, one is tied down to the body consciousness. This constant struggle doesn’t allow the aspirant to free the awareness from the limiting experiences of the body. The perfection of the pose is experienced when all these nervous stimulations and physical resistance cease and then one starts to have an experience of internalised awareness.

After having aligned with the awareness of the innermost being (self/atman/Purusha), he further says that then one transcends the influences of pairs of opposites in life. (Tato dvandvanabhighatah) Chapter-2, verse 48). Otherwise, awareness is constantly identified with the body-mind complex.

Once the state of asana is attained then aspirant is guided to use Pranayama (yogic breath-work) to transform mental cluttering. In Yoga, pranayama is the process of extending the prana (vital principle) in the body. Breath is considered the tool through which the vitality principle is expanded in the body. In order to experience the expansion of vital force within, the techniques of breathing are to be mastered.

Concept of Pranayama

Patanjali defines pranayama as the cessation of the movement of inhalation and exhalation. (Svasaprasvasayorgati viksheddah pranayamah– chapter 2, verse/49). Here cessation means to incorporate kumbhaka (retention of the breath). During the practice of pranayama, one learns to establish control over one’s breathing and as a result tunes one’s nervous system to cope up with the retention of the breath. Through the process of pranayama, one develops control over the autonomic functioning of the brain. And later on, learns to slow down the activities of the nervous system and mind.

In yoga, it is said that the breath is the outer reflection of one’s mental states. Through appropriate pranayama techniques once optimum control is established on the breath then controlling the thoughts and vital energies become easier.

There are three stages of pranayama as mentioned in Yoga Sutras of Patanjali. These three stages are called Puraka (inhalation), Kumbhaka (retention) and Rechaka (exhalation). Establishing control over these three stages of breathing results in controlling one’s inner psycho-physiology of metabolism, energy exchange and mental activities. With this control as one becomes more spontaneous and absorbed into the practice then the fourth stage of breathing unfolds. This is called kevali kumbhaka, where the breath is naturally suspended over a long period of time due to slowing down of the nervous system and mental activities. This is the stage where one experiences the state of complete thoughtlessness. Therefore Patanjali mentioned in his verse 53 in 2nd chapter; ‘as a result of pranayama, the mind is equipped to practice Dharana (One-pointed concentration).

Sushant embarked on a journey of yoga in 1997 as a postgraduate student of Yoga Psychology from Bihar Yoga Bharati (Deemed University); known worldwide for its authentic and systematic teachings of the yogic discipline. After completing his Post Graduation in Yoga Psychology; he was involved as an intern in various projects/studies in prisons, army, hospitals and corporate for one and half years. After an internship; he was appointed a lecturer in the Department of Yoga Psychology at Bihar Yoga Bharati until 2005, which provided him ample opportunities to explore the theoretical as well as practical dimensions of yogic knowledge. 

Today he is an independent yoga teacher and co-founder of Rishikesh Yogis Yogshala and is currently living in Rishikesh. He conducts retreats and workshops on Yoga philosophy, meditations and Kriya Yoga.  Connect with him on Facebook.

health Benefits Anuloma Viloma Pranayama, powerful Pranayama practice.

Anuloma Viloma Pranayama:

Anuloma Viloma is a very powerful Pranayama practice. If incorporated into daily life it helps improve our general stamina, relax our nervous system and increase our power of concentration. When you practice Anuloma Viloma you are building vital energy in your body. It cleanses and strengthens the lungs and entire respiratory system.

Anuloma Viloma Pranayama is a component of Hatha yoga practice. The word Anu means ‘with’ and the word Loma mean ‘hair’ or ‘with the grain’ or natural. Viloma means ‘against the grain’. In other words, Anuloma is the opposite of Viloma. We get sick, when our tridoshas are not properly balanced.

Tri means three and dosha means impurities. The three types of impurities are Pitta, Kapha and Vaata. They are present in every living body and the imbalance in one or all three of these is responsible for diseases. It is necessary to have a proper balance among the doshas. The best and the simplest way to maintain the balance is by practicing Anuloma and Viloma.

The highest rate of gas exchange in the lungs occurs during retention (holding the breath). Due to the increased pressure, more oxygen goes from the lungs into the blood and more carbon dioxide (and other waste products) pass from the blood into the lungs to be eliminated during exhalation. Exhalation being twice the time of inhalation, stale air and waste products are drained from the lungs.

The ratio is 1:4:2. Inhale for one count, hold your breath for 4 counts and exhale for 2 counts.

There are other benefits to be considered. Valuable nutrients are formed during retention. This way, you will not need to take any dietary supplements. Doing six full rounds of Anuloma Viloma is like taking a capsule of multivitamins every day. It helps you stay healthy and fit.

When having a blocked nose, do not do the retention. Instead, inhale to the count of 4 and exhale through the alternate nostril for 8 counts. Inhale through the same nostril for 4 counts and exhale through alternate nostril for 8 counts.

Health Benefits Anuloma Viloma Pranayama :

Kapalbhati Pranayama Yoga and its Numerous Benefits | MedicTips

Kapalbhati Pranayama Yoga is mostly encouraged by people today and it is majorly because of its efficiency and effective outcomes. Kapalbhati has always been considered as the most useful Yogic practice which helps person resolve every day problem related to hair, body and face.

There are Many yoga Asanas and Yoga pranayama for healthy body like Anulom Vilom, Bhastrika Bhramari, Kapalbhati etc.

Not just it is limited to beautification and weight loss, but Kapalbhti is also considered useful to get rid of many mental and psychological problems. In many cases Kapalbhati has proved to be worked amazingly for some serious diseases like, depression.

Taken from the Sanskrit words, Kapal’ means ‘skills’, ‘Bhati’ means ‘Shining’. Where ‘Pranayam’ means ‘breathing technique’. Well, almost like all other yoga practices, if we follow this routine of Kapalbhati regularly, and mostly correctly, it is bound to deliver some unexpected results.

How to do Kapalbhati Pranayama Yoga

Kapalbhati is a breathing process, in which an exercise of inhalation and exhalation is done. The inhalation is called ‘Puraka’, is nothing but a normal inhalation process and exhalation is called ‘Rechaka’, which is usually a faster process as compared to ‘Puraka’. A major 10-15 secs of breath holding between ‘Puraka’ and ‘Rechaka’ is called ‘Kumbhaka’, is not done in kapalabhati. In this exercise, only inhalation and exhalation are carried out. Where the exhalation part is the major part of kapalbhati. Fast and forceful exhalation actually helps in purifying nerves and also gives calm mind and body.

Usually when we do normal breathing (inhaling), or ‘Puraka’, it is considered as the active process, while the ‘Rechaka’ (exhaling) is considered as the passive process. But in Kapalbhati, the inhaling and exhaling are reversed.

In this, while exhaling, the air is forcefully exhaled by the abdominal muscles as well as the diaphragm, during exhalation. The stomach muscles are moved forcefully inwards towards the diaphragm which throws out the air. While inhalation, which is a common breathing technique here, it fills the air in the lungs, and this process is carried out without any sort of break in between two respiration processes.

Some Major Benefits of Doing Kapalbhati Pranayama Yoga Daily:

Loss weight with Kapalbhati: The breathing Process!

If you research more about kapalbhati, the one thing that you will read in common would be, how this exercise helps in losing weight at such a considerable amount. If you ask any Yoga teacher, or may be any yoga freak, the one thing that would always be in their routine workout will be kapalbhati. Plus, it is completely natural and easy. No heavy equipment’s, no daily fuss of hitting gym to lose few pounds. Nevertheless, many researchers have said that, kapalbhati is so efficient that it had worked for losing 10kgs weight in just 45 days. Even, famous yoga gurus of our country like Baba RamDev Ji recommends this exercise for instant result for weight loss. 

Constipation? Try Kapalbhati for a month and see the result for yourself!

Though constipation is overall a very painful thing, specially for the older age people. Kapalbhati has solved this problem majorly by its involvement of stomach muscles and its breathing process. Constipation is the problem that is now not just limited to older age people but is also found in younger ones too. Various Yoga exercises can solve the problem of constipation. Constipation leads to various other problems like, diarrhea, allergies and mostly swollen tummy. Try kapalbhati for a while and see whether this exercise has solved this problem for you even by 5 %. If it did, try it daily to see major differences in your healthy lifestyle.

Works well with Breast Cancer:

Major reason behind Breast Cancer are weight gain, female sex, absence of any sort of activities, alcohol consumption and many others. Breast Cancer is one of the major medical issue among ladies in numerous western nations like United Sates, United Kingdom, Australia, Canada and in some other. They burn through a great many dollars on Breast Cancer treatment.

This may sound weird. But in any case, its valid. As indicated by an ongoing report, specialists had discovered that Kapalabhati Pranayama yoga is powerful in treating Breast Cancer.

But if anything is curing your deadly disease naturally, is Kapalbhati. But only, this should be done only at the starting stage, if found in the second or later stage then always go for advance treatments.

Helps improve Blood Circulation:

Low blood course can cause numerous issues like skin hypersensitivities, frosty hands, loss of hair, dry nails and numerous other. This may a few times increase genuine health condition and you may require some advanced treatments.

But, better safe than sorry, before it deteriorates, make some move. Kapalbhati Pranayama yoga is one great yoga procedure to cure low blood circulation. It enhances blood flow for add up to body and keeps you healthy. So, from today itself, begin doing it for 3 to 5 minutes on either early mornings or nights. Along this perform ‘anulom vilom pranayam’ for faster benefits.

Makes your stomach work-out!

While doing Kapalbhati pranayama yoga we strongly breathe out air from the body and while doing this procedure we compel to push our stomach inside. As we continue pushing and exhaling, the muscles around mid-region gets worked out. What’s more, by this they get exercised.

Gives a natural solution for Nerves weakness:

Nerves Weakness is now a day another common problem seen in individual. This may be caused due to many reasons, like irregular diet, stress, less sleep, and mostly unhealthy lifestyle. This problem is not restricted to any age group, anyone can be a victim to nerves problem. Nerve problem can further take jump to even more problems like, tiredness, infertility, headaches, etc.,

According to Yoga experts, Kapalbhati Pranayam yoga is a perfect breathing exercise for curing nerves problems. With this exercise we can not only work with nerve issue but can also eliminate many more issues that was generated due to this. Like for example, after attempting Kapalbhati, for 25-30 day continuously, you will fell active internally too. You will feel fresh the entire day, and mostly you will see that your nerve problem doesn’t exists anymore.

Immunity Power, Is all UP!

Immunity power has been this one term that we all must have listened in our entire life. Right from a little cold and cough to high fever, everything is related with your low immunity for doctors. Well, as a matter of fact, they aren’t wrong! 

People usually with low immunity power gets attacked by the diseases like fever, cold, sinus, quit often. The higher the immunity, healthier you stay. And the worst part is, there is no medicine to cure the immunity power completely. No tonics or capsules can make you healthier for a long run.

The only solution, to cure low immunity related issues are to be a regular Yoga enthusiast. Something, easier than regular clinics meetings, lots of tonics and capsules are to devote 15 mins daily with Kapalbhati pranayama yoga. Everyday, 3-4 rounds of Kapalbhati can cure to core and without any money spent.

Increases sex stamina and sperm count

Kapalbhati pranayama is additionally know for expanding sex related issues and sperm count. Various yoga experts recommend this for infertility and other sex issues. Following this pranayama day by day makes the body parts around mid-region fit and helps performing great with sex. This even calms your brain and increases you states of mind.

Heals Lungs Related Issues:

In this period, every 40 out of 100 individuals experience the consequences effects of different types of lungs issues. Reasons could be various like smoking, alcohol, fats – however one should be alert. Lungs issues can be a very dangerous to your life.

So, if you are one of those who is suffering from any lung related issues, it is always advisable to practice Kapalbhati pranayama yoga for 3 to 5 minutes every day both early mornings and night times. It is assured that every lungs issue can be cured in under 20 days. In any case, make sure to take recommendations from your specialist. It is always advised to make a assurance from your doctor, if the current condition permits you to practice Kapalbhati pranayama yoga, because at times, it can be a painful process for some.

Gives, fuss free Periods to Women!

Kapalbhati is actually a boon for women who suffers from improper period problems. Practicing Kapalbhati for 15-20 days continuously can cure this problem naturally and completely. Nevertheless, many women have tried this and have actually felt their problem resolving within few weeks.

Stones in your kidney?

Stones in Kidneys has joined into one other basic diseases nowadays. Taking from old individuals to youngsters, it is influencing everybody. In spite of the fact that there is cure for this issue, but we can see how much these hospitals charge for this.

Nevertheless, Kapalbhati Pranayama yoga can cure stones in kidneys with no cost. This is a practiced yoga method specially for kidney stones. Yoga expert like Swami Baba Ramdev had treated many individuals with this issue. Obviously, you additionally need to take after some great ayurvedic diet to treat it totally.

Increases Bone Strength!

Low levels of calcium in body can lead to bone weaknesses. Furthermore, we generally observe this bone issues in matured individuals and women. For this, specialist recommends some calcium tablets and other calcium rich diet. Other than consuming these, practicing Kapalbhati yoga can likewise increase calcium levels in your body and make your bones solid.

This not only makes your bones solid, as well as it even helps in fighting against other bone related issues. Simply attempt this for 2 weeks and you will be amazed with the outcomes.

Treats Uterine Fibroids in women

Uterine Fibroids is an ordinarily observed issue in ladies. Fibroids gets created in the strong mass of uterus and this leads to the increment in the uterus size, substantial bleeding, heavy pain while having sex and some other issues. For this specialist(doctors) recommend some child of western medications and at times, they go for medical surgery.

Yet, Baba Ramdev had demonstrated that they could be cured by Kapalbhati Pranayama yoga. He himself specified this in his Kapalbhati Hindi course. But, the patient must do this more and more to accomplish. It should be practiced for 15 minutes (900 breathes out) constantly with no break. The more dangerous the sickness is the more breathes out you require.

Cures acidity problems

Bad food habits and improper food timings can lead to acidity problems and can be of trouble for many. And this leads to problems like indigestion, heart burn, stomach burn and other throat, stomach problems. Even for this you don’t need to run after doctors and medicines. Simply follow Kapalbhati yoga for 5 minutes every day and all your acidity related issues will be gone by in under 2 weeks.

Increases energy levels

If, by any chance, you are among those individuals with low vitality levels, at that point you require this breathing activity. Nowadays individuals get worn out and gets weak too soon. They pursue numerous caffeinated drinks like Red Bull, Monster, KS and numerous other for energy level. In any case, they are ignorant that this straightforward yoga breathing system can build their vitality levels by 3 times than that of those artificial caffeinated drinks.

Benefits of Kapalbhati for skin and beauty

Best breathing exercise for natural Skin Glow

If you are searching for any best breathing techniques of yoga for naturally glowing skin? Then I recommend Kapalabhati for that. Not only me, even great yoga gurus and beauty experts suggest this for white and bright skin.

Best natural yoga technique to cure pimples

Have you ever heard this? A yoga exercise can actually give you pimple free face? Be it a guy or a girl, pimple have always been an unavoidable problem for all. We all have been there, searching for a product that can simply vanish all our pimples overnight. In course of finding such a product, we have made used of such chemicals that have cost us to dollars. Now, we have something, available, all for free. Why not try Kapalbhati for same, and see for ourselves the result?

Kapalbhati pranayama yoga is knows for purifying your blood, and when this comes into action all our dirt from the body is eliminated. Try Kapalbhati pranayama for some 2-3 mins daily and reduce the expenses of some ultra-costly and chemical filled cosmetics.

Ageing? Slow down!

It is assured that all yoga practices can almost make you feel young and fresh, not just any one simple exercise in precise. In fact, yoga’s on a whole can work wonders for your skin, hair and body.

Though it doesn’t work the same for all, some might look 8 years younger of their age and some may look exactly how they should be doing at their age. But nevertheless, this never disappoints.

Benefits of Kapalbhati for Hair

Say No to Hair Fall!

Wondering how can a yoga exercise can control your hair fall? Well, there is no doubt that Kapalbhati works on Skull mainly, so it is genuine that it works well for the hair too. No matter, where your hair situation is, you can always start with this simple exercise and can control losing all those long strands from your head.

Prevents Hair-(greying)!

No matter at what age you are in, grey hair can now attack you at any time. Usually “greyness” used to signify “ageing” but now when we see this common trait in 20-25-year-old too, we realize that grey-ing has nothing to do with age. It a normal hormonal activity that leads to such situation. Nevertheless, one can always control it, by obviously following some yoga exercise, in combination with recommended diet and hair product.

Kapalbhati benefits for mind

Usually, Yoga exercises works best as a stress buster. It not only helps to keep your mind calm, but also gives you a sense of relaxation all throughout the body. Just a 5 mins show, and you will have a peaceful day all long.

To treat stress and anxiety

Now a day, many teenagers are found to be the victim of anxiety, depressions and many other. Kapalbhati can always be the best cure for all these.

Cures insomnia

Insomnia can be caused of various reasons, but majorly of them are concerned with mind. If your mind is calm and composed then you can sleep well, or else, the tossing in the bed rhythms continues. Kapalbhati pranayama yoga resolves all of these within a month of continuous practice. So you can cure insomnia by practicing this yoga daily.

So, if you are a victim of any 5+ problems that was mentioned above, you should opt for Kaplabhati, right away. Try it for a week and let us know how it made a difference. If it did, in a positive way, carry on for a month and see the difference for yourselves. I am sure, if once you are into Kapalbhati, you will be all in a gala mood 24*7.

We are eagerly waiting to hear from you, if you have been practising it, or have ever tried it, or you tried it after reading this article, let us know, how Kapalbhati made you feel!!

An engineering aspirant, a book lover by choice, loves travelling with dairy and pen, fitness motivator- Can help people who hate gyms to fall in love with fitness in 7 days or may be help a busy mom to reduce her baby bump in like 12 weeks!

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BENEFITS OF PRANAYAMA

BENEFITS OF PRANAYAMA

Breathing is the first and last act of our life. With Breath in we become alive and with Breath out we become dead. Breathing holds the very fabric of life and key to our health and wellness. It is so simple and so obvious that normally we take it for granted. The breathing pattern of most people is very shallow, minimal and use very small portion about 1/11th of the lungs capacity. This low capacity breathing pattern deprives our body from proper oxygen and prana for health and wellbeing. Hence breathing practices become very essential for the wellbeing of body, mind, and heart. The rhythmic and deep breathing patterns harmonize the rhythm of our body, mind, emotions and bring them in tune with the rhythm of nature for our holistic health and life. Yogis say breathing is the connecting force of body mind and spirit, hence, sprit can dwell and express itself in the body through breathing.

From very ancient time the Rishis, Yogis of India have well understood the benefits and importance of breathing practices for our health, wellbeing and for expansion of consciousness to attain enlightenment or samadhi. They have formulated varieties of breathing practices known as pranayama practices for the expansion of prana i.e. life force to lead a healthy, disease free life and to attain highest state of consciousness, self-realization. In yoga the human life span also considered in terms of breathing, yoga says faster the respiration process, shorter the life span, slower the respiration process, longer the life span. Ancient yogis have realized the well connection between the speed of breath and life span, and developed to increase the duration of breath with help of pranayama practices. In this context a contemporary yogi Swami Shivananda says “A yogi measures the span of life by number of breaths not by number of years.

Energy Body and Benefits of Pranayama:

From yogic prospective one of the most important benefits of pranayama is to expand the Pranamaya Kosha- the energy body to experience higher state of consciousness. This expansion of Pranamaya Kosha helps us to navigate easily into other deeper subtle bodies like Manomaya Kosha – the mental body. Vijnanamaya Kosha – the wisdom body, Anandamaya Kosha – the Bliss body. The awareness and understanding of these inner most subtle bodies leads us to realize our true self and establish our self in true nature. According to Hatha Yoga Pranayama practices on combination with mudras and Bandhas are considered the key to work deeply on energy body and its expansion. The major components of Pranamaya Kosha are:

Nadis– The vast network of energy channels or paths

Chakras– The energy centers or energy pool

Kundalini– The main energy source that helps to attain Samadhi

Through pranayama one can clear the blockage on the energy paths and open up to have free flow throughout the body. Pranayama practices also help to re-direct the energy into specific path for the activation of kundalini, chakras and prepare path for higher yogic practices like Dharana, Dhyan, and Samadhi.

Higher Consciousness and Benefits of Pranayama:

Breathing gives birth to natural consciousness through life. It  become one of the most important medium to experience super consciousness by observing incoming and outgoing breath, we can easily transported into higher state of awareness and feelings that heightens our sense, perceptions to recognize the higher realms and mysteries of life. During our yoga practice, we are continuously instructed to breath consciously to enhance our awareness, to be in the present moment, and get rid of the past and the future. This conscious breath assists us to bring more awareness and understanding to the root causes of our imbalances at physical, mental, emotional levels and fix them accordingly. Hence, both in Hatha Yoga and Raja Yoga traditions, the pranayama becomes the central practice of inner journey. This Pranayama act as a joiner of the outer yogic practices( Bahiranga sadhana) like yama, niyama, asana with inner yogic practices (Antaranga sadhana) like pratyahara, dharana, dhyan and samadhi. We also find a great importance of breath for meditation in one of the ancient most yogic text called Vigyan Bhairav Tantra. This Vigyan Bhairav Tantra explains 112 meditation techniques developed by Shiva for the attainment of oneness with the universe. This yogic text also considered as the encyclopedia in the world of meditation. The first 9 meditation practices of this text best on breath and breathing process which proves how the breath becomes so important for meditation and higher consciousness.

Gautam Buddha has also developed a great meditation technique that is based on watching and observing the incoming and outgoing breath cycle. His breath meditation technique popularly known as  Anapana Sati Yog. Buddha has made this mindfulness of incoming and outgoing breath, the very basis for the Vipassana meditation. Hence, in all Buddhist traditions and sects Anapana Sati Yog is one of the key practice of meditation.

Kabir, another mystic and renowned yogi of India once asked his disciple that “Student tell me, what is God?” while answering to this question Kabir says “ God is the breath inside the breath”. He means God is our very subjectivity, our very interiority that we can find within. God is not an object that we can see Him outside. Kabir says we can experience the God in our innermost core of existence with the help of breath.

Benefits of Pranayama as Described by Ancient and Modern Yogis:

“Chale Vate Chalam Chittam Nischale Nischalm Bhavet” Means when Prana (Breath) moves Chitta (The Mental force) moves, When Prana is without movement, Chitta is without movement.  ~ (Hatha Yoga Pradipika- 2/2).

In this Sutra of Hatha Yoga Pradipika, Swami Svatmaram established the fundamental relationship between breath and mind. He says our breath and mind are directly and proportionally connected with each other. It means when breath is disturbed or irregular, then mind is disturbed, when the breath is calm and quite, the mind also become calm and quite. The entire science of pranayama practices based on this sutra of Swami Svatmaram.

“Pracchardana Vidharanavyam va Pranasya” – Steadiness or One-pointedness of mind can be achieved through forceful exhalation followed by retention of breathing.                 (Patanjali Yoga Sutra- 1/34)

In this Patanjali Yoga Sutra, Rishi Patanjali outlined how we can come out from highly disturbed, agitated and excited state of mind (Chitta Vikshapa) through breathing practice. He says when our mind is highly disturbed, we can achieve one pointedness of mind (ekagra) through forceful continuous exhalation followed by retention of breath.

“Tatah Kshiyate Prakasha Avarnam” – As a result of pranayama (Breathing Practice), the veil of impurities that covering the light of knowledge is destroyed. Then discriminative knowledge and understanding is gained.  (Patanjali Yoga Sutra- 2/52)

In this Patanjali Yoga Sutra, Rishi Patanjali explains the effects and benefits of Pranayama practice. He says pranayama destroys the over crowded clouds of thoughts that hide the light of eternal consciousness. Pranayama also decreases the properties of Rajas i.e. overactivity, instability of mind and Tamas i.e. lethargy, inertia of mind. It restores sattvic properties like peace, joy, harmony of mind. Pranayama also prepares our mind to be suitable for concentration – dharana and meditation – Dhyan.

“Dharanasu Cha Yogyata Manasah” – As result of Pranayama the mind becomes fit for concentration (Dharana)- (Patanjali Yoga Sutra- 2/53)

In this sutra, Rishi Patanjali says Pranayama practice us a great help to make mind more sharp and suitable for concentration. As Pranayama practice greatly calms down the mind, drops the disturbances and brings back the attention to the body, to the breath and to the mind to  here now which is prior requirement of any higher yogic practices like dharana, dhyan etc.

“Purvajitani Karmani Pranayamena Nischitam” – All the Karma whether acquired in this life or in the past are destroyed by the practice of Pranayama (Shiv Samhita – 3/49).

In Shiva Sutra, Shiva says pranayama practice can erase all the past impressions, conditionings that have been already acquired. Dissolution of past karmas lead us to experience ultimate freedom and liberation.

“Pranayama (Kumbhakat) Kundalini Bodhah” – Through practice of Pranayama there is Arousal of Kundalini. (Hatha Yoga Pradipika- 2/75).

In this Sutra of Hatha Yoga Pradipika, Swami Svatmaram talks how pranayama can be an important tool to awaken kundalini and experience samadhi.

“Breath: A Bridge to the Universe. If you can do something with the Breath, you will suddenly turn to the Present. If you can do something with Breath, you will attain to the source of life. If you can do something with Breath, you can transcend Time and Space. If you can do something with Breath, you will be in the World and also Beyond It. Breath has two points. One is where it touches the Body and the Universe, and another is where it touches you and that which transcends the Universe”.  (Osho).

“Controlling the Breath is a Prerequisite to controlling the Mind and the Body”.  (SWAMI RAMA).                                                                

Our 200 hour Yoga teacher Training Course and 200 hour Meditation teacher Training Course provides good opportunity to experience and to understand deeply the above yogic benefits of Pranayama to lead a holistic, peaceful, joyful and harmonious life. Please, find the following links for the details about our experiential, transformation and holistic courses:

  • Transformational 200 Hour Yoga Teacher Training Course in Rishikesh India

 

  • 200 Hour Holistic Yoga Teacher Training Course in Rishikesh India

 

  • Transformational 200 Hour Meditation Teacher Training Course in Rishikesh India

 

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The Real Benefits of Pranayama

The Real Benefits of Pranayama

Want to Change your Mental and Physical Negative state instantly? Stay tuned and read the whole article. “The Real Benefits of Pranayama.

“The Real Benefits of Pranayama” Now days we have become very scientific, which is not a bad thing indeed, However, we also should not neglect the ancient knowledge of yoga and yogis who were using in past and passed it on it us. And should find out what are The Real Benefits of Pranayama?

The nature of passing information always changes in some context of the real information, in the end the full information changes into what we need or think is good enough, due to the 3 filters we have; Deletion, Distortion and Generalization.

Same way most of the time when we think of “The Benefits of Pranayama” we just notice or aware that prana mean energy or vital energy comes in in our body and it heals or we intake more prana through inhaling much amount of oxygen during pranayama etc.

Yoga with Amit

However, The Real Benefits of Pranayama maybe more than that. Did you ever notice your both the nostrils? That they never flow in same flow? If one nostrils flows clearly than another one will be slight difficult to breath or less breath in and out?

Pause reading this for a moment and let’s become aware of your state, both mind and body. Whether you feel stress, anxiety, happy, excited, strong?? Whatever you are feeling write them down. After check your nostrils, see which one is flowing more so than other?

For instance; if you feeling happy, excited and strong, see which nostrils is flowing? Remember that nostril for next time and see which nostril flows when you feel sad or unhappy or stressed?

You should check many times a day as the nostrils flow changes all the time which determines the state of your mind. And should note down each time you are in stressed or excited state.

For Instance: If you find your right nostril flows stronger and this is when you feel more happy, strong and confident or energised, then whenever you are feeling down, go ahead and close the left nostril and breath in and out from right nostril to inhale and exhale to reactivate your right nostril, consequence activating your strong side, happy and energised excited and positive energy.

“And after doing so you will know The Real Benefits of Pranayama”.

Isn’t cool to find out The Real Benefits of Pranayama? You would activate your brain neurons by using left and right nostrils or ida and pingla nadi or yin and yang or female and male energy. And you will find yourself to be yourself. More clear in head, more positive state, more excited and happy to do what you do.

Try your self and find out The Real Benefits of Pranayama now, how these simple breathings in and out alternatively can massively impact on our body and mind, therefore our results.

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Pranayama – Greg Dunn Design

Pranayama

22K handmade gilded microetching
limited edition of 10

(current available piece is #4/10)

24″ X 32″, complete with frame and custom light fixture

Greg Dunn and Brian Edwards, 2014

Please contact for pricing information

If you are looking for the print version of this microetching, Pranayama: Breath of Fire, you will find it here.

Pranayama, controlling the mind through the breath, has been practiced around the world for thousands of years. With continued practice comes a growing awareness of prana, a subtle energy in the body whose movement can be controlled through breath.

This dynamically reflective gilded microetching depicts the movement of prana in the body as the viewer walks around it. When walking from left to right, the “inhale,” prana is withdrawn from the extremities, into the central channel, and upwards. When walking from right to left, the “exhale,” the prana moves back down the central channel and into the extremities. The microetching “breathes” as the viewer walks past it, providing a reminder to bring the mind back to a position of awareness.

Please watch the short film below, shot and produced by Will Drinker, to get a sense for what the microetching looks like. Please note that these effects are only present in the original 22K gilded microetchings, not in the print of this piece that you can find in the Print section. The print is a still photograph of the microetching.

Cleanse & Charge Your Chakras: Kundalini Pranayama Practice

Welcome to your chakra kundalini pranayama practice that cleanses and charges your seven energetic centers that lie within. 

Let me forewarn, you’re in for a weird one today.

I learned this chakra pranayama (breathing practice) from a workshop I attended with Anodea Judith, and instantly knew I needed to know more about it. My curiosity led me to buying another book, crazy I know, and learning the intricacies of this energizing, clearing, and quite euphoric experience. 

And what I mean by euphoric is….  as you breathe and cleanse your chakras, you’ll be directing your breath in and out of the body, at an increased rate, which leaves you in a high, trance like state. 

Personally, this high feeling helps me tune into subtle sensations, thoughts, and feelings that might otherwise have gone unnoticed, and it helps further pinpoint where stuck energy lives. 

As someone whose studied the chakras for a few years now, I admit, they can be confusing and overwhelming. The idea with your chakra system is to bring your inner portals of energy that run along your spinal column into equilibrium, and have the awareness to know which ones need to be fine tuned. Once you fine tune yourself, your energy can travel up and down the core of who you are (your spinal column) without hitting blockages. 

Essentially, you can then experience kundalini rising.

Kundalini rising is a wholeeeee other topic, one that I’m not confident to speak on, but it is part of the chakra experience as well as an entirely different style of yoga practice and lineage.

Now here’s the crux, kundalini rising is both challenging to reach and should be guided by a qualified teacher. It requires dedication, awareness, focused intention, and the willingness to work through some super tough shit. Shit like past pain, trauma of any kind, limiting and false beliefs, and anything that feels like tension. 

If you’re still confused, I would liken kundalini rising to reaching your seventh chakra, because you’ve cleared and charged all of the preceding energetic centers, or if you follow and practice the eight limbs of yoga, it’s akin to reaching samadhi (enlightenment). 

So, with this information planted, let’s now dive into the chakra pranayama practice and learn how to harness it as a powerful tool in the comfort of your home. 

Related: Experience your entire chakra system, join my free seven day Chakra Challenge Program today! 

This breathing practice was created by Anodea Judith, the chakra guru, and it’s intention is to invite energy up through your chakra system, aka your liberation current. It can be used as a quick-me-up or before you begin a yoga or meditation practice.

It can also be deconstructed and used for each individual chakra. For example, if you’re aware that tuning into sensations, emotions, and feelings is a challenge for you, try doing the 2nd and 4th breathing techniques. And the same goes for any chakra you’re working on. 

Important note: Each breathing pattern begin in a cross-legged position with an erect spine. Each inhalation is directed through your nose, and each exhalation out your mouth (audibly with a sound, if you can). Keep your eyes open throughout the exercise, unless otherwise cued. If sitting in an erect position for a lengthened amount of time is uncomfortable, please prop yourself up using a blanket, block, or bolster.

Now let’s begin cleansing and charging our chakras!

Root Chakra: Muladhara 

Element: earth 

Body parts: feet, legs, bones, sciatic nerve 

Purpose: foundation, support, stability, safety

Instructions: 

  1. Bring your hands to your shoulders, and lift elbows out to the side, in line with your shoulders 
  2. Inhale through your nose and extend both arms straight overhead, simultaneously  lifting your knees to the sky too. 
  3. Exhale through your mouth and pull your arms and knees back to the original position
  4. Repeat 10 – 20 times, increasing in speed if you can, then return to a normal breathing pattern
  5. Close your eyes and tune into the charge you created at the base of your body, your root chakra. 

Sacral Chakra: Svadhisthana 

Element: water 

Body parts: hips, sacrum, lower abdomen, sex organs, inner thighs, joints 

Purpose: movement, flow, expansion, emotional wellbeing, pleasure

Instructions: 

  1. Place your hands on the front of your knees, palms facing down, with a gentle grip. 
  2. Inhale (through your nose) to bring your sacrum forward like in a cow pose, and gently pull on your knees to increase the curve of your spine while lifting the chest. 
  3. Exhale (out of your mouth) to round your back, like cat pose, bringing your navel back towards your spine. 
  4. Repeat 10 – 20 times, then return to your normal breathing pattern
  5. Close your eyes and tune into the charge in your sacral chakra area. 

Solar Plexus Chakra: Manipura 

Element: fire

Body parts: upper abdomen, digestive organs, adrenal glands, solar plexus, and ribs 

Purpose: energy, strength, willpower, transformation, change 

Instructions: 

*I sometimes teach cat + cow pose as a barrel like movement, imagining that your body is like a spoon cleaning out a peanut butter jar, this same sensation is what you’ll want to use here. 

  1. Inhale, bring your belly forward like you did in chakra two, then exhale and bring your right side body to the right and toward the back.
  2. When your exhale is complete, inhale and bring your left side body around the left side and back to the front. 
  3. Continue this movement and breathing pattern, becoming more familiar with the sensation, and then begin to pick up speed.
  4. Repeat 10x clockwise, and 10x counterclockwise. The number ten is symbolic of the ten petals to this chakra. 
  5. Once complete, release the movement, return to normal breathing, close you eyes and connect with your solar plexus. 

Heart Chakra: Anahata 

Element: air

Body parts: chest, lungs, diaphragm, ribs, heart, respiratory system, shoulder blades

Purpose: love, expansion, relationships, connection, union 

Instructions: 

  1. Bring your hands to shoulders like you did for the root chakra, elbows at shoulder height. 
  2. Inhale through your nose and twist to the right, with gentle core engagement. 
  3. Exhale through your mouth and twist to the left. 
  4. Repeat 12x, inhaling to the right, exhaling to the left, then switch sides and inhale to the left, exhale to the right.
  5. Once complete, release the movement, return to a normal breathing pattern. 
  6. Tune into the life force that you feel in your heart space, notice if any changes have occurred. 

Throat Chakra: Vishuddha

Element: sound 

Body parts: shoulders, neck, throat, tongue, mouth, ears

Purpose: communication, purification, refinement 

Instructions: 

  1. Interlace your fingers under your chin, with the elbows down.
  2. Inhale to lift your elbows to the sides, while keeping your fingers interlaced and your head level. 
  3. As you exhale, lift your chin, draw your head back, open your mouth, and bring the elbows together. Exhale with an audible sound here. 
  4. Repeat 16x, one for each petal of the throat chakra. 
  5. Release your hands, return to a normal breathing pattern, and tune into the charge at your throat center. 

Third Eye Chakra: Ajna

Element: light

Body parts: eyes, forehead, pineal gland

Purpose: insight, guidance, wisdom, vision, imagination

Instructions: 

  1. The goal of this breath is to imagine you are opening a curtain wide, just as the morning light is flooding your eyesight. 
  2. Inhale (through your nose) to reach your hands forward, fingertips spread, and open your eyes wide. Widen your arms as if you’re opening those morning curtains, and try to focus on a specific color or visual that lies in front of you.
  3. Exhale (out your mouth), bring your hands to your eyes, and lock that memory of light, color, or image into your inner world. 
  4. Repeat 10 – 12 times. 
  5. Release the movement, return to your normal breathing pattern, and visualize your inner world flooded with a beautiful, bright light, guiding you towards your journey. 

Crown Chakra: Sahasrara

Element: consciousness, thought, nothingness and everything 

Body parts: head, brain, nervous system

Purpose: awareness, ideas, union, communion with the Divine, spirituality 

Instructions: 

  1. Bring your palms together in prayer position at the heart.
  2. With your palms together, inhale and raise your arms overhead. 
  3. Exhale, separate your hands and expand them outwards like you’re creating a lotus flower. 
  4. Repeat 10 – 20x, release the movement, and return your normal breathing pattern. Rest quietly here.
  5. Notice the energy running through your entire body, feel whatever charge is arising, tune into the subtleties of what your body is teaching you. Pay special attention to anywhere in the body that feels like it’s not holding the energy or is too energetic, these might be your chakras to work on! 

And your chakra pranayama cleansing and charging practice is now complete! You did amazing! 

I recommend taking a moment to journal about your experience today, noting what parts of this exercise spoke to you, and if any sensations/feelings/emotions or answers to pending life questions revealed themselves to you. 

As always, thank you so much for joining me on this journey, and for trusting me to guide you through these powerful chakra experiences. 

All my energy, xoxo. 

Related: Want more chakra work? Join my free 7 day program to awaken, energize, and reconnect your entire system. 

10 Breathing Exercises (Pranayama) to Restore Mind-Body Balance

The body has two opposing nervous systems that act to either speed up or slow down various functions of the body. How you breathe determines which nervous system is activated.

Startled by a bear, you would likely take a mouth wide open, gasping breath. When under stress, we cry, scream, yell or gasp, and run to save our life. This gasping rush of air through the mouth fills the upper lobes of the lungs where there is a predominance of fight-or-flight emergency stress receptors that activate the sympathetic nervous system.

Think of a baby nursing. Their mouths are closed and they gently breathe through their nose. Nose breathing drives inspired air through the turbinates in the nose that drive the air deeper and more slowly into the lower lobes of the lungs, where there is a predominance of calming and restorative parasympathetic receptors.

Nose breathing calms you down and mouth breathing stimulates you. This ancient wisdom was found to be true in a study we published on nose versus mouth breathing in The International Journal of Neuroscience. (1)

In our study, nose breathing during exercise was found to boost brain wave coherence, meditative brain alpha waves, slower breath and heart rates, lower blood pressure, decreased sympathetic tone, increased parasympathetic tone, better endurance, and significantly less discomfort during exercise. (1,2)

Yoga and Ayurveda have used breathing techniques (pranayama) for thousands of years to maintain, restore and balance mental, physical, emotional and spiritual health.

Transcending the neurological benefits of breathing mentioned above, pranayama techniques were geared more towards moving the body’s subtle energy.

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The Koshas – The 5 Layers of the Supreme Self

The body’s subtle energy is divided up into sheaths called koshas.

The bliss sheath or Anandamaya kosha is the most central and represents the bliss or joy inside all of us.

The Vijnanamaya kosha, also known as the wisdom sheath, supports discernment to help us filter out the good and bad energy, mindsets and emotions.

This next sheath, as we move outward and less subtle, is the mental sheath or the Manomaya kosha. Here, the mind controls our thoughts and emotions.

This sheath is followed by the Pranamaya kosha or the breath sheath, which regulates breathing patterns and is in charge of moving prana or the body’s life force.

Next, and the least subtle of the body sheaths, is the Annamaya kosha which governs all of the bodily functions.

Notice that the breathing sheath (Pranamaya kosha) is between the mental sheath (Manomaya kosha) and the body sheath (Annamaya kosha). The breath, as described in my study mentioned above, controls the state of mind—as seen with the production of alpha waves during nose breathing and dramatic changes in bodily functions like heart rate and blood pressure. (1,3)

From the Yogic and Ayurvedic perspective, when we breathe, the prana (life force carried through the breath) moves both into the body sheath and the mind sheath, as the prana breath sheath sits between the two. Breathing is, therefore, the mind-body connector on a gross level, but it also functions at a more subtle level.

The movement of the prana activates an energy system in the body called the nadis, which are perhaps most akin to the energy meridians of acupuncture. While science recognizes the existence of meridians and subtle energy, it has yet to be able to measure them.

According to Ayurveda, if we do not move the prana, we will not activate the nadi system. It is the subtle activation of the nadi system that will restore health and balance of the body in the body sheath, and free the mind of limiting and negative thoughts and behavioral patterns in the mental sheath. (4)

Activating the Nadi System

One of the main ways to help direct the prana (breath) through the density of the body and activate the nadi system is through individually prescribed yoga postures coordinated with deep and slow nasal breathing.

Specific breathing practices are said to bring a heightened level of mental awareness to the mind in order to elicit mental, emotional and spiritual change or transformation.

By specifically moving the breath, the physical body restores balance, and the mind becomes less cluttered and more aware, allowing the bliss in the Anandamaya kosha to permeate all the outer koshas.

The following ten breathing (pranayama) techniques are designed to specifically move the breath, either to balance aspects of the body or deliver heightened awareness to the mind.

The goal is to release the conscious awareness (love and truth) into every kosha or aspect of the body, from the most subtle to the most gross.

10 Breathing Exercises (Pranayama) to Restore Mind-Body Balance

Read through these pranayama exercises and practice the ones that most suit your needs and are the most comfortable to practice.

These can be done any time of the day best for you, but were traditionally practiced in the morning and early evening before meditation or yoga.

Always start slowly, and build up intensity and time only if the practice is comfortable.

  1. NADI SHODANA

Directions: Inhale right nostril, exhale left nostril, inhale left nostril, exhale right nostril. Continue to alternate nostril breathing ten breaths, up to ten minutes.

Benefits: Coordinates brain hemispheres and wave coherence. Heightens awareness of the mind.

  1. SHEETALI

Directions: The cooling breath. Fold tongue lengthwise and inhale deeply through the folded tongue. Exhale through the nose or using ujjayi. Ten breaths minimum, ten minutes maximum.

Benefits: Reduces pitta or heat from the head, neck and upper digestion.

  1. SHEETKARI

Directions: The hissing breath. Same basic effect as sheetali. Clench teeth, expose teeth and take a deep hissing inhale through the teeth. Exhale as in sheetali.

Benefits: Reduces pitta, purifies the senses and cools the head.

  1. BRAHMARI

Directions: The humming breath. Inhale with ujjayi (see below) and during the exhale hum like a bee. The hum should create a resonating vibration in the head and heart. Take ten deep breaths in this way. Take another ten deep Brahmari breaths and plug both ears only during the exhale. This will notably enhance the resonance effect and benefits.

Benefits: Balances vata as well as increases subtle mental and emotional awareness.

  1. BHASTRIKA

Directions: The bellows breath. This exercise should be supervised. Close the right nostril. Take twenty fast bellows-like breaths through the left nostril. Close left nostril. Take twenty more bellows breaths through the right nostril. Then take twenty bellows breaths through both nostrils.

Benefits: Drives prana both into the body and mind to clear out physical, mental and emotional blocks.

  1. KALABHATI

Directions: The frontal brain bellows. Similar to Bhastrika only the inhale is quicker and less emphasized. The exhale is longer, more forceful, faster and deeper. Perform as with Bhastrika.

Benefits: Increases digestive fire and raises spiritual energy.

  1. SURYA BHEDNA

Directions: The solar breath. Inhale through the right nostril and exhale through the left. Perform for ten breaths minimum up to ten minutes maximum.

Benefits: Heating and warming breath to balance vata.

  1. CHANDRA BHEDNA

Directions: The lunar breath. Inhale through the left nostril and exhale through the right. Perform for ten breaths minimum up to ten minutes maximum.

Benefits: Cooling breath to reduce pitta.

  1. UJJAYI

Directions: The Darth Vader breath. Inhale and exhale through the nose making a slight snoring sound with a light constricting of the upper throat and soft palate. Perform for ten breaths for a maximum of ten minutes.

Benefits: A subtle breath to gently move prana and activate the nadi system.

  1. ACTIVE NOSE BREATHING

Directions: Take long slow deep breaths in and out through the nose as you walk. Try to lengthen the inhale and exhale as you walk. Count the steps you take for each full inhale and exhale. Aim to take ten steps or more for each inhale and ten steps for each exhale. Try to keep the inhale the same length as the exhale.

Benefits: This breath teaches you how to take the calming effect of nose breathing into your active life. (2)

10+ Effective Yoga Asana & Pranayama Exercises to Stop Hair Loss

 

10+ Effective Yoga Asana & Pranayama Exercises to Stop Hair Loss

Everyone – men and women both want to have shiny and silky hair, as well as strength, is also necessary. But most of them are having dull hair and so many hair problems. Most of the hair problems are caused due to busy and stressful lifestyle. In between busy schedule and workload, you might not be able to take proper care of your hair. And even you find time to nourish and care for your hair, shampoo, conditioner and many more chemical based hair products are going to be a reason for lifeless hair.

Yoga Asana & Pranayama Exercises
Yoga Asana & Pranayama Exercises

 

For naturally shiny and smooth hair, one needs to practice natural therapy. One of the practical and widely used treatment is Yoga Asana and Pranayama Exercises. Worldwide people go on practicing Yogasana for better health and maintain the healthier lifestyle. Not many people are aware of getting effects on hair as well as prevention of hair loss with the help of Yoga Asana.

 

 

Yoga Asana & Pranayama Exercises to Stop Hair Loss

Mainly, all the conditions related to your body are caused because of the stressful life. That being reason, people suffer from Heart Disease, Blood Pressure Problems, Skin Problems, and Hair Fall is also one of these things. Other than such stress, unhealthy lifestyle including Smoking, Drinking, Improper Diet, Hormonal Imbalance, Overexposure to Sun  – UV Rays, Excess Usage of Chemical Based products, etc. are also responsible factors.

To stop hair loss, the vast range of beauty products as well as hair care products are available in the market. You can go to the nearest store or even order online, but not all of them turn out to be helpful. Moreover, they contain so many types of chemicals in them. One way or another, they are going to make things even worse with your hair. Hence to prevent hair loss, one should think about some natural way which won’t be harmful as well as no side effects should be associated with it.

 

 

Here we are discussing 10+ Effective Yoga Asana and Pranayama Exercises to Stop Hair Loss. Below are various useful Yoga Asana which, if you practice daily, will result in stopping of hair loss and overall health will be improved. Since ages, Yoga has been proved one of the most efficient ways for maintaining physical and mental health. It heals all three – Mind, Body, and Soul. With improved blood circulation, you will see miraculous effects of these Yoga Asana and Pranayama Exercises.

Once you start doing Yoga Asana, it is going to be very useful your entire body’s good health. With specific types of Yoga Asana and Pranayama Exercises, your digestion will be improved as well as it helps in reducing anxiety. Even several poses of Yoga Asana keeps your head in such a position in which improved blood flow goes throughout your head, and enhanced circulation will be circulated through your scalp.

 

10+ Effective Yoga Asana and Pranayama Exercises to Stop Hair Loss:

  1. Adho Mukha Svanasana: [Downward-Facing Dog Pose]

How to do it:

  • It would be good to use Yoga mat while you’re practicing Yoga Asana.
  • For Adho Mukha Svanasana, get into Push Ups position on your Yoga mat.
  • Now, keep your face towards the ground and extend your hands forward, shoulder width.
  • Bend your upper body downwards and strengthen your legs.
  • Keep your knees unbent.
  • From toe to hips, keep your body straight.
  • Now, hold your breath for a few seconds.
  • Beginners need to practice this Adho Mukha Svanasana in the morning while having the empty stomach.
  • In the starting days, hold the position for several seconds and then you will be able to keep the pose for about 2 to 3 minutes.

Benefits:

With this pose, your head is bent forward which lets the blood flow towards your head. The improved blood circulation then flows into the entire body. With such blood flow, digestion is also improved. From toe to spine and from head to hands, many parts of your body stretches out. Even the spine and neck have beneficial effects from this stretching. It releases stress throughout your body and helps to relax your mind and body, both.

  1. Uttanasana: [Standing Forward Bend Pose]

How to do it:

  • To do Uttanasana, stand straight on your Yoga mat.
  • Bend slowly towards the ground by bending your spine through the waist.
  • While bending forward, take your hand to your legs towards feet.
  • Do not bend your knees.
  • Try to touch your forehead to the knees, without bending your knees.
  • Keep your hands straight and keep your elbow on the sides of your knees.
  • Let your hands’ fingertips touch the rear part of the feet.
  • When your stomach is empty, preferably in the morning, perform the Uttanasana.
  • Other than morning, choose evening time, when your stomach is not so full, at least 5 to 7 after having the meal.
  • In the beginning, try to hold the pose for few seconds.
  • Later on, you will be able to hold the pose for more time.

Benefits:

The Uttanasana keeps your head downwards, facing the ground. Because of that, blood rushes towards the head and cells in the head gets improved blood flow. Any of the issues regarding a headache can be cured with the help of this asana. Even your stomach is stretched here, so digestive muscles are going to get massaged. It will result in preventing constipation problems. Regular practicing of Uttanasana will enhance your overall body and rejuvenates your health.

  1. Vajrasana: [Thunderbolt Pose/ Diamond Pose]

How to do it:

  • At first, kneel down on the floor, easily.
  • Keep your spine straight and heels together.
  • While kneeling down, bend your knees in such a way that after sitting your feet’s sole is supposed to touch your buttocks.
  • Keep your hands bend the elbow, keep your fingers straight, touching your thigh – knee.
  • Your fingers are supposed to be faced down.
  • Relax in the pose.
  • Deep breaths for a few minutes.
  • After moving out of the pose, stretch your legs forward.
  • This is a relaxed pose, keep breathing and holding the pose for several minutes.

Benefits:

It is believed that Pranayama done in Vajrasna gives your strength of a diamond, hence also known as the diamond pose. This asana is amongst those very few, which should be done after taking the meal. Beginners need to hold the post for at least 5 to 10 minutes, whereas regularly it can be done for several minutes. When done daily, the Vajrasana, i.e., Thunderbolt Pose helps you against constipation. It keeps your mind calm and clear. Also, helps losing help and obesity. This pose also helps for maintaining blood circulation in your body and bend muscles gives you strengthen.

  1. Pawanmuktasana: [Wind Relieving Pose]

How to do it:

  • Lie on the ground as your back lies on the ground.
  • Look straight towards the ceiling.
  • Inhale deeply and then move your left leg upwards to the chest.
  • Get your hands to help the leg to go up.
  • Try to get the left leg’s knee nearby your chest.
  • Hold the pose and exhale completely.
  • Then put back your leg, gently to the primary position, on the ground.
  • Now, inhale and do the same with your right leg.
  • Repeat as like the left leg – do the inhale and exhale in the same manner.

Benefits:

The Pawanmuktasana is supposed to be done in the morning, with the empty stomach. It mainly helps digestion process and also helps in relieving gas. Too fat from abdomen and buttocks is burnt slowly. Any issues regarding stomach and gas can be prevented with regular exercise of this pose. Even your stomach and abdominal organs get stretched hence it helps burn belly fats. After regular practice, you will be easily able to hold the pose for about 40 to 60 seconds.

  1. Sirsasana: [Headstand Pose]

How to do it:

  • Sit on the ground by placing your hips resting on the heels.
  • Then bend forward by keeping your forearm on the ground.
  • Interlock both hands’ fingers with each other.
  • Slowly place your fingers against your head and place on the ground.
  • Raise your knees off the floor and firmly put your head on the floor.
  • Give balance/ base to your head while your entire body goes upside down.
  • Inhale and hold the pose, as long as you can.
  • Then exhale slowly and get on the floor, the same way you went up.

Benefits:

You might have heard of this pose as the Head Stand. It is considered as King of Yogasana due to lots of benefits from it and the way it is kind of different than any other poses. When seeing the pictures of the Sirsasana, you might find it quite tricky to do, but once you master the pose, you will know that it is not that much hard. Through this posture, blood flow towards brain is improved, and hence it will nourish your mind. It is also able to cure thyroid and many other problems too.

One more important thing to remember, the Sirsasana is supposed to be done in the morning, most preferably. It is so because you need to have the gap of almost 10 to 12 hours from the last meal to do this pose. After mastering, try to hold the pose for around 2 to 5 minutes, as per your body supports.

  1. Surya Namaskar: [Sun Salutation]

Surya Namaskar contains total 12 different poses/ Asanas viz.

Pranamasana (Prayer Pose)
Hasta Utthanasana (Raised Arms Pose)
Padhastasana (Hand To Foot Pose)
Shwa Sanchalanasana (Equestrian Pose)
Santolanasana (Inner Equanimity Pose)
Ashtanga Namaskara (Salute with Eight Points)
Bhujangasana (Cobra Pose)
Parvatasana (Mountain Pose)
Ashwa Sanchalanasana ( Equestrian Pose)
Padahastasana (Hand To Foot Pose)
Hasta Utthanasana (Raised Arms Pose)
Pranamasana (Prayer Pose)

With all these twelve Asana, each of them has their numerous benefits for the entire body. Since ages, Rishis have been doing the Surya Namaskara to maintain good health and live longer. It helps reducing weight as well as whole body’s blood circulation can also be improved. Even while doing the Surya Namaskar, you need to concentrate on both – inhale and exhale as well as holding breath at specific points is also essential.

  1. Sarvangasana: [All Limb Pose]

How to do it:

  • Lie down on the floor, facing upwards.
  • Slowly try to get your legs into upper direction.
  • Keep your hands on the ground.
  • Bend your body from the upper part, if possible, through your neck.
  • Get entire body upwards, slowly.
  • Keep your hands straight on the ground, bend them, interlock the fingers.
  • Joined/ interlocked fingers will give support for getting your body upwards.
  • Hold the post for a few seconds.

Benefits:

The Sarvangasana (All Limb Pose) is also said to be the Queen of all Asanas. It is quite challenging to do, as it involves bending entire body through the neck, be careful while performing it, if you need, get guidance from an instructor. Through this pose, your whole body including Shoulders, Stomach, Back, Legs gets stretched. It is one of the advanced level Hatha Yoga Poses. It is supposed to be done when you have the empty stomach. Try to hold the pose for about 30 to 60 seconds.

  1. Ustrasana (Camel Pose):

How to do it:

  • Kneel on the Yoga mat, place your hands on the hips.
  • Keep your knees in line with your shoulders.
  • Your feet’s sole is supposed to be facing the ceiling.
  • Inhale slowly and draw in your tail-bone towards the pubis.
  • Get into the pose as like you’re getting pulled from the navel.
  • While doing that, arch your back, slide your palms towards your feet, over feet.
  • Keep your arms straight.
  • Keep your neck in the neutral position.
  • Keep inhaling – exhaling for a few breaths, hold the pose.
  • Slowly release the pose.

Benefits:

The Ustrasana (Camel Pose) helps to improve the digestion. As you just read, your entire body is stretched in this pose, with that your back and shoulder muscles are also extended. Spine flexibility is improved with this pose. For women, it helps to regulate menstrual cycle as well as benefits to release tension in the ovaries.

  1. Sasangasana:

How to do it:

  • Kneel down on the floor, while resting your hips on the heels.
  • Slowly bend forward and get your hips off the heels.
  • Get your forehead/ crown of your head towards the floor, nearby your knees.
  • Try to touch the floor/ knees.
  • Keep your hands holding the heels.
  • After touching the ground, hold the position.
  • Try to hold it for about 4 to 5 breaths.
  • Then slowly go to the starting position, kneel down on the floor, resting your hips on the heels.

Benefits:

As we discussed, your head touches the floor. Hence the blood flow will be directed towards your scalp. Improved blood circulation helps healthy scalp, and it leads towards healthy hair. As the spine and back get stretched people having back problems, it will heal the pain. Back and neck pressure is released through this pose.

  1. Anuloma Viloma: [Alternate Nostril Breathing]

How to do it:

  • Sit simply in Padmasana.
  • Keep your eyes closed.
  • Relax your entire body.
  • Rest your hands on your knees.
  • Now, take your right-hand thumb close the right nostril.
  • Inhale through the left nostril, as much as you can.
  • Remove your hand from the right nostril, close the left nostril.
  • Exhale through the right nostril, while keeping the left nostril closed.
  • While doing this, keep your mind calm, focus on your deep breaths.
  • Concentrate your focus on the Pranayama which you are doing now.
  • Do the same with your left nostril and right hand, repeat inhale – exhale both processes.

Benefits:

With regular practice of Anuloma and Viloma, you can have improved inhale – exhale, and the functioning of lungs gets better. Even it helps for those who suffer from depression and tension. Both of these are amongst main reasons for hair fall, hence doing this Pranayama is going to help you a lot. Those who regularly perform this Pranayama gets relaxation of mind and also it strengthens the brain too.

  1. Kapalbhati Pranayama:

How to do it:

  • Sit on your Yoga mat, easily in Vajrasana.
  • Those who have issues regarding their back or spine can sit on the floor with the help of the wall, resting on the wall.
  • You have to sit straight and force your breath out – exhale in short intervals.
  • For beginners, take the interval of 20 to 30 breaths in the starting.
  • Those who are regularly practicing the pose can go up to 200 breaths.

Benefits:

This Pranayama helps in various ways to heal your body. Regular Kapalbhati Pranayama practice helps in losing belly fat. As this pose is associated with lungs and breathing, it strengthens the lungs. Improved blood flows throughout the entire body. Regular practice helps to activate brain cells, and eventually, it results in improved memory and concentration power. It even helps in healing in stress, dark circles around eyes also go away and helps your hair grow.

  1. Apanasana: [Knee to Chest Yoga Pose]

How to do it:

  • Just lie on your back on your Yoga mat.
  • Keep your spine straight.
  • Now, bend your right knee and get it towards your chest.
  • Interlock your fingers on the shin, below the knee.
  • While doing this with right leg, keep your left leg straight.
  • Take your right knee towards your armpit, relax your neck and shoulders.
  • Your back will feel pressure on the ground.
  • While you exhale, you can feel your stomach in pressure against your thigh.
  • Do the same with left leg taking towards your chest while right leg will be straight on the ground.

Benefits:

With regular practice, this pose helps preventing/ reducing excess anger, anxiety, and high blood pressure, etc. problems. These are one of the reasons for hair fall to most of the people. When you cure these ideas, your hair will grow naturally with the regular Yoga practice. This pose helps to purify your body by flushing out toxins from the body. Even with improved blood circulation, hair follicles stimulates, and hair grows naturally.

  1. Uttanpadasana: [Leg Raised Yoga Pose]

How to do it:

  • Lie down on your Yoga mat, placing your back on the ground.
  • Keep both hands on the sides, flat.
  • Your palms should be facing downwards, fingers straight.
  • Relax your body.
  • Inhale, and left both your legs, around 45 to 60 degrees upwards from the ground.
  • After lifting your legs, hold the pose for few seconds.
  • Get back to normal position.
  • After regular practice, you can hold the pose for around 15 to 20 seconds.

Benefits:

By lifting your legs, your stomach gets pressure and hence various problems such as acidity, indigestion, constipation, etc. can be cured. Abdominal organs are also strengthened. Hip, Back and Thigh muscles are strengthened.

Those who have gas problems, arthritis, heart problems, waist pain will heal their body with regular practice of this pose. Even diabetes is controlled by this Yoga Pose. Entire body gets improved blood flow and hair will grow naturally, with this pose.

Each of the above mentioned Yoga Asana and Pranayama Exercises has their numerous benefits. To obtain more of benefits, practice Yoga regularly poses,  as per instructions. To know more about these poses, how to do its steps, things to keep in mind, consult a yoga instructor and get all the essential details. With daily practice, miraculous effects of the Yoga can be achieved.

With those results, not only your hair will grow naturally but also your entire body will be fit and healthy. Moreover, Yoga Asana and Pranayama Exercises have been practiced since ages and give peace of mind.

Some Potential Dangers for Westerners of Advanced Pranayama Exercises

Some Potential Dangers for Westerners of Advanced Pranayama Exercises

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People who don’t breathe naturally, who, for example, carry unnecessary tension in their chests, backs, and bellies, face potential dangers when doing advanced pranayama exercises. People who practice advanced yoga breathing exercises without good teachers or much experience can easily hurt their diaphragms and other breathing muscles. They can also cause imbalances in their internal chemistry.

For most people, one of the main keys to transforming one’s breathing in a safe and effective way has to do with gradually relaxing and opening up all the breathing structures of the body, with releasing unnecessary tension, so that the body is free to breathe in the way it was designed to breathe, with harmonious coordination of the various breathing muscles and tissues. In general, this process requires deep, dynamic relaxation, not willful effort. It also requires inner sensitivity and awareness, a more intimate contact with our sensations. Here is a quote about this issue from the introduction to my book The Tao of Natural Breathing.

“The great spiritual pathfinder G. I. Gurdjieff … warned that without complete knowledge of our organism, especially of the interrelationships of the rhythms of our various organs, efforts to change our breathing can bring great harm. It is clear that work with breathing, especially some of the advanced yogic breathing techniques (pranayama) taught in the West through both classes and books, is fraught with many dangers. In his book Hara: The Vital Center of Man, Karlfried Graf Dürckheim–a pioneer in the integration of body, mind, and spirit–discusses some of the dangers of teaching yogic breathing techniques to Westerners. He points out that most of these exercises, which ‘imply tension,’ were designed for Indians, who suffer from ‘an inert letting-go.’ Westerners, on the other hand, suffer from ‘too much upward pull … too much will.’ Dürckheim states that even though many yoga teachers try to help their students relax before giving them breathing exercises, they do not realize that the ‘letting-go’ required for deep relaxation can be achieved ‘only after long practice.’ At best, says Dürckheim, giving breathing exercises prematurely grafts new tensions onto the already established ones, and brings about ‘an artificially induced vitality … followed by a condition of exhaustion and the aspirant discontinues his efforts, his practice.’”

Copyright 1997 – 2014 by Dennis Lewis