This is preparatory breathing practice for doing Paranayama. It chiefly corrects the breathing pattern and increases the vital capacity of the lungs.
Abdominal breathing or Diaphragmatic breathing (Adhama)
Sit erect in Vajrasana. Exhale Inhale completely, slowly and continuously. This is called Puraka. The abdomen is made to bulge continuously with the ari entering especially into the lower sections of the lungs. Before exhaling stop the breath (Antarya Kumbhaka) for a second. While exhaling (Recaka) the abdomen is drawn inwards continuously and slowly. Before the breath is reversed, stop the breath (Bahya Kumbhaka) for a second and inhale. Repeat the breathing cycle. There should be no jerks in the whole process. It should be smooth, continuous and relaxing. The Diaphragm separating the thorax from the abdomen descends during inhalation with the bulging of the abdomen. This increases the Air-flowinto the lower sections of the lungs. The rhythmic movement of the diaphragm massages the contents of the abdomen gently, and helps the organs to functions normally. It promotes the general circulation also.
Thoracic (Chest) breathing or intercostals breathing (Madhyama)
In this sectional breathing performed while sitting erect in Vajrasana, Inhalation and exhalation are performed by expanding and contracting the chest only. Air flows through both nostrils, slowly and continuously. The abdomen is controlled to avoid its bulging.
Upper lobar breathing or clavicular breathing (Adya)
Sit erect in Vajrasana. Raise the collarbones while inhaling. Keep the abdominal muscles contracted. The air is forced into the uppermost regions of the lungs thus ventilating the upper lobes. The sparingly used upper lobes of the lungs will be properly aerated by this breathing. These three sectionalized breathings are also called ‘Adhama’. ‘Madhyama’ and‘Adya’. In complete Yogic breathing technique all the above three types will be combined. During inhalation, the Adhama, Madhyama and Adya occur sequently and during exhalation the same sequence namely abdominal, chest and Clavicular breathings occur. The whole process should be relaxing and comfortable, without any tension in the face. Four Mudrasare generally associated with these sectional breathings. They are Cin Mudra for Adhama, Cinmaya Mudra for Madhyama, Adi Mudra for Adya and Brahma Mudra for complete Yogic breathing.
Sit comfortably in an erect spine position. Perform Deep and long inhalations and exhalations continuously. During the practice emphasize more on the thorax activity. The speed of breathing is 120 strokes as in Kapalabhati. After 10-15 strokes halt the practice and enjoy the Kevala Kumbhaka (automatic suspension of breathing) by being silent. Continue after a minute. Increases the blood circulation in the body. Very good is for chronic cold, nasal allergies and various respiratory ailments, supplements the benefits of Kapalbhati. Persons suffering from epilepsy and hypertension should avoid this practice. The flapping of the abdomen resembles the blacksmith’s bellows and hence it is Bhastrika.
Anuloma –Viloma (Simple Inhalation – Exhalation Pranayama)
Sit erect in Padmasana or Vajrasana (any meditate posture) with head, truck and buttocks in a straight line. Close yours eyes and exhale completely. Inhale through both the nostrils slowly and steadily without making any sound. Exhale slowly, continuously and silently. Have inhalation and exhalation for the same duration (Say 20 second each) During exhalation the chest goes down and abdomen is taken in. Both the chest and abdomen expand during inhalation; rhythmic breathing. There is no holding of the breath (Kumbhaka) Mental recitation of ‘AUM’ can be followed during inhalation as well as exhalation. It is good to practice this at dawn and sunset (through not mandatory), in empty stomach. One can have about 10 to 15 rounds to start with, and can go up to 30 rounds. One inhalation and exhalation means one round. One must practice Anuloma- Viloma for at least three months continuously to perceive the benefits. The whole practice is to be done in a very relaxed way, with least exhaustion. Lungs, heart, stomach get purified, rhythmic, and breathing is the result. Lung capacity also increases. Helps in curing the diseases pertaining of lungs. A heartbeat gets normalized. We will now present the two types of Anuloma – Viloma.
Candranuloma – Viloma
Here the inhalation and exhalation are through left nostril (Candra Nadi) only. Right nostril is kept closed all the time. All the other points in Anuloma – Viloma are applicable here also. Adopt Nasika Mudra.
Sit comfortably in an erect spine position. Inhale through the right nostril by closing the left nostril. Exhale through the left nostril by closing the right nostril. Inhalations and exhalations should be as slow, deep and as long as possible. Repeat the same as above for 10 rounds
Sit comfortably in an erect spine position. Inhale through the left nostril by closing the right nostril. Exhale through the right nostril by closing the left nostril. Inhalations and exhalations should be as slow, deep and as long as possible. Repeat the same as above for 10 rounds. This helps in curing chronic cold, cough, sinusitis and tension headaches. Also increases the digestive fire.
- Nadi Suddhi (Purification of Subtle perception paths) The Nadi Suddhi is similar to Anuloma-Viloma, with the difference that inhalation and exhalation are done though alternate nostrils. Sit erect in Padmasana (or any other meditative posture) Exhale completely. Close the right nostril with thumb of the right hand. Inhale slowly, steadily and deeply as long as possible. Follow the entire course of the breath by feeling the movement or air. Do not hold the breath inside. Release the right and close the left nostril with the little and ring fingers of the right hand and breathe out through the right nostril. Again breathe in through the right nostril and then breath out through the left nostril. This forms one round of Nadi suddhi. Inhalation and exhalation from each side should be of the same duration. ‘AUM’ can be mentally recited during inhalation and exhalation. To start with, one can have nine rounds and this can gradually be increased to about 25 or 30 rounds. Early morning and late evening are good for this practice. Anuloma- Viloma and the Nadi Suddhi are the foundations for the practice of good Pranayama. One has to practice these for duration of three to six months to accomplish the purification of the Nadis a Cakras(which exist in the subtle body, called Pranamaya Kosa).
- Ujjayi (Hissing Pranayama) Sit comfortably in any of the meditative postures with spine erect. Start inhaling slowly through both nostrils. The incoming air should be felt at the upper palate. By partially closing the glottis, a sibilant sound is produced in the throat. While making a swallowing movement, bend the neck forward and allow the breath to stop automatically and effortlessly. While maintaining, relax the head region and feel the locking of air below the throat. Exhale slowly through left nostril and continuously making a hissing noise at the throat by partial contraction of the glottis. This completes one cycle. In other types of Ujjayi, single nostril inhalation and exhalation are used. The airway resistance at the palate is the important aspect of this Pranayama. It helps to reduce the speed of breathing.
- Sitkari (Folded up tongue Pranayama) Sit in a comfortable posture, with an erect spine. Exhale from both nostrils. Fold the tongue back wards and press the tip of the tongue by the hard palate, leaving narrow openings on either side of the tongue. Inhale through these side-openings making a hissing sound. Allow the breath to be stopped with case. Exhale slowly and continuously through both the nostrils. Then allow the breath to stop with case and release.
- Sitali (Beak tongue Pranayama) Fold up the sides of the partially protruded tongue so as to form a long narrow tube resembling the beak of a bird. Pressing the lips round the tounge further narrows this passage. Inhale, making a hissing noise and perceive the cooling effect of the air as it passes through the tongue. Allow the breath to be stopped effortlessly. Exhale through both nostrils. Then allow the breath to be held comfortably before the next inhalation. Repeat the cycle.
- Sadanta (Suck through teeth Pranayama) Press the upper teeth on the lower ones. Suck in air through the crevices of the teeth slowly and continuously. Allow the breath to stop automatically. Exhale through both nostrils. Hold the breath comfortably for a while before the next inhalation. Repeat the cycle. All the above three – Sitkari, Sitali and Sadantahave the same benefits. They are cooling Pranayamas. Because of their cooling effect, they help in calming down the mind by removing the mental anxiety and tension. They increase the resistance to diseases of respiratory system. Sadamta is particularly useful for persons suffering from pyorrhea and hypersensitivity of gums.
- Bhramari (Beetle sounding Pranayama) Sit erect in Padmasana. Breathe in through both nostrils in such a way that a fine sound like the one produced by a male beetle is heard. Allow the breath to stop effortlessly. Slowly exhale while producing a sound from the mouth and nose, so as to produce a sweet musical humming sound like a female beetle. Hold the breath. Slowly release. Repeat the Cycle several times.