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Pranayama Breathing

Yoga Pranayama

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How To Practice Pranayam
Christine Breese, D.D., Ph.D.
Pranayam, Pranayama, Pranayama Breathing Technique, Yoga Pranayama, Asana, Prana

Pranayam (or Pranayama) is a series of well known breathing practices in yogic traditions in India. It is often taught to the spiritual aspirant as a means of preparing for meditation. It gets the mind ready for self-inquiry and introspection, and creates altered states naturally and harmlessly. It causes the mind to become still and the body to become relaxed. It is recommended that pranayam be practiced for a half hour before a meditation, clearing the physical, mental, emotional and spiritual energies. The pause between the in and the out breath is said to be a place where deep enlightenment can be found, the place of no-time and no-space. Linger there and see what you discover.

Pranayam is not only good for meditation preparation, but it is also good for the body. It cleanses toxins, causes high oxygenation within the cells, and can even cause some people to lose weight. It is a wonderful way to work with the body for healing and purification.

I have included some of the material that I use in my classes on Pranayam instruction:

A Complete Breath, Yogic art of breathing, pranayama technique, pranayama breathing cycle
1. Inhale Puraka
3. Exhale Abhyantara Kumbhaka (Full Pause)
2. Pause Rechaka
4. Pause Bahya Kumbhaka (Empty Pause)

Breath should fill you from the bottom up, lower abdomen first, middle, and then chest. Think of it as if you are filling up a glass with air. Use diaphragm to control breathing and hold pauses.

3 Basic Techniques (pranayam breathing, breath yoga, , inner journey)
This is an introduction to the yogic art of breathing, a yoga technique for reaching deeper states in your meditations. There is far more to know, and University of Metaphysical Sciences has a more extensive course on this subject than what is presented in this article alone. Pranayama (also known as Pranayam) light, Prana means breath, or life force, Vidya Pranayama Technique, Yoga Breath Of Fire will help revitalize your energy. These are the practices of a Yogi, this is Pranayama Science, to help you with your Inner Journey and prepare for meditation. Pranayama Breathing will help you awaken faster. This is a yogi technique, a branch of yoga, involving the breath and its properties.

Alternating Nostrils (Pranayama breathing technique, yoga technique, breathing art, yogic art breathing, prana prana)
It has been found that one nostril is easier to breathe through than the other at any particular time and it alternates every 2 to 3 hours during the day. The nasal cycle corresponds with brain function. Electrical activity of the brain is greater on the opposite side of the nostril that is less congested. The right nostril energizes the left side of the brain which controls logic and verbal activity. The left nostril energizes the right side of the brain which controls creative activity. Also, certain diseases and mental imbalances can be related to one nostril or the other being congested too long. For instance, prolonged breathing though the left nostril (over many years) will cause asthma. Prolonged breathing though the right nostril is believed to induce diabetes.

This technique is used for coordinating the left/right brain functioning, a great way to create balance between logic and creativity for meditation and inner exploration. If you are about to take a test, you might want to breathe only in and out of the right nostril in order to highly activate the left brain, or logic. If you are about to paint a painting, or write a song, you might want to breathe only in and out of the left nostril, activating the right brain, the creative side.

Pranayama Technique—use right thumb for closing right nostril, right ring finger for closing left nostril

1. close left nostril, inhale right nostril (4 counts) pause (8 counts)
2. close right nostril, exhale left nostril (8 counts) pause (8 counts)
3. keep right nostril closed, inhale left nostril (4 counts) pause (8 counts)
4. close left nostril, exhale right nostril (8 counts) pause (8 counts)
repeat steps 1 - 4

Purification Breath
This technique helps with purification of blood and the nervous system, and also weightloss. The purification and weightloss benefits come with the pause after exhalation in all breathing exercises where the exhalation is forced out and the empty pause is held for as long as possible. What happens as the exhaled breath is held out (the empty pause, Bahya Kumbhaka) is that the blood rushes around trying to find energy. It gobbles up whatever it can find, like fat tissue, toxins, unused glucose, etc.

Once it is in the bloodstream and oxygen is re-introduced, the blood discards the substitute energy, grabs the oxygen, and what was discarded can be carried out of the body. Drink plenty of water afterwards! If you want to lose weight in certain areas, stretch that spot while doing this breathing exercise. The blood will rush to that area and focus on it because stretching is actually creating a mini-injury to the muscle tissue in that particular stretch. The blood always rushes to repair injuries.

Pranayama Technique—use diaphragm to force breathing

1. Inhale from bottom up, fill the glass (4 counts)
2. Pause (as long as possible)
3. Exhale with force (1 count), pull diaphragm up and back toward the spine, hold
4. Pause (as long as possible)
5. Allow breath to come back in regularly
repeat steps 1 - 5

Breath Of Fire (breath fire, technique, vidya, yoga, breath)
This breath cleanses the body and strengthens the lungs. It creates intense heat and causes energy to “burn up”. Good for eliminating anger and other such poisonous emotions, also good for eliminating thoughts. Purifies blood, increases circulation, and restores body’s vitality. Induces sweating. If you only have five minutes a day to devote to Pranayam, this is the exercise to do!

Yogic Breathing Technique
1. Inhale
2. Using diaphragm, force air in and out in rapid repetitions with emphasis on the out breath
3. Inhale deeply
4. Exhale rapidly with force, pull diaphragm up and toward back
5. Pause
6. Take a few recovery breaths (normal breathing) before starting another round
repeat steps 1-6

Other Pranayam / Pranayama Exercises
All other breathing exercises are based on these three described above. Variations of the three basic yogic / yogi breathing exercises abound! Get creative, do what feels good, and chances are you will be tapping into yet another of the techniques taught by the yogis.
Some variations are as follows:

Nasal Snoring—Use one of the basic three breathing exercises, but make a snoring sound through the nostrils into the forehead. This can create lofty experiences and trance like states, even when done at a minimal, quiet level. It is a great way to begin a meditation. It energizes the left and right energy passages (ida and pingala) that go up the forehead, over the top and back of the skull, and wind around the shoshuma (tube in which the kundalini moves up and down the spine) down to the base of the spine Many have reported kundalini experiences with this variation of Pranayama.

Humming—Using one of the three basic pranayama exercises, make the sound of a bee on the exhale. The vibration in the head, chest and throat clear blockages and open up energy. Great for healing sinus problems.

Swooning—To be practiced only by people who are proficient at Pranayam and have enough experience to do this safely. Do this in a sitting or lying down position so that if you fall, you will not be hurt. Do not do this standing up! After the inhale, pause (the full pause, Abhyantara Kumbhaka) hold until you are about to faint. Can induce euphoria and semi-consciousness. If you faint, don’t worry, your automatic breathing systems will kick in. It is a way to induce near death experiences, and altered states for super consciousness. Be careful with this one!

Alternating Nostrils—Try different Pranayama breathing patterns with the nostrils, for instance, inhaling through the right nostril and exhaling through the left nostril 20 times or try doing the reverse. This can create interesting brain wave activity. Try breathing in through the right nostril and out through the right nostril or vice versa. Energize a creative project right before you begin, or energize a speech you are about to give. Remember that the left nostril controls the right brain and the right nostril controls the right brain.

Christine Breese, is the founder of University of Metaphysical Sciences (Science), Wisdom Of The Heart Church, and Starlight Journal. She is an author, lecturer and teacher in the field of metaphysics. She is also a producer and director of spiritual film and audio projects.

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