Introduction to Pranayama (1/9)

We have described simple and effective practices of pranayama. More advanced techniques and breath retention are not given as they are best learned under the supervision of an experienced yoga teacher.

In the breathing practices, becoming sensitive and aware of the breath and prana are important first steps. These steps deepen and lengthen the breath, slow the heartbeat, create a peaceful stillnesss in the body and mind, and can help lower blood pressure. For people suffering from high blood pressure, anxiety, insomnia, Parkinson’s, MS, and other chronic or terminal illnesses, these pranayama breathing techniques may be very helpful. They may also be beneficial in managing pain as the mind and body begin to release stress and relax.

Use these pranayama practices to form the base for a solid meditation practice. These progressive breathing practices are yoga meditation practices as well; meditation begins with the breath. Always move with the rhythm and pace of your own breath in comfort. Do not over breathe. Never force the breath. Never hold the breath without the guidance of an experienced teacher. Keep the shoulders relaxed and dropped when doing these practices. Do not heave or move the shoulders and chest with the breath. The breath is not loud or noisy. Keep the breath easy and relaxed at all times. There should never be any discomfort, pain, light-headedness, shortness of breath, dizziness, tightness in the chest or in breathing. If that happens, you should stop the practice.

For further information, please refer to the article What is Pranayama?.

Table of Contents

  1. Introduction
  2. Base Position
  3. Body Stillness
  4. Deepening Body Awareness
  5. Breath Awareness
  6. Whole Body Breath
  7. Belly Breath
  8. Full Yogic Breath
  9. Samavritti Pranayama

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