Pranayama is an ancient Indian practice that is an integral part of yoga. It involves a series of controlled breathing exercises designed to integrate is cultivate breath awareness. Integrating pranayama into your daily routine can have numerous benefits for your physical, mental, and emotional health. Here’s an overview of cultivating breath awareness in your routine.
What is pranayama?
The term “pranayama” can be broken down into two components: “prana,” which means life force or vital energy, and “yama,” which refers to control or regulation. Pranayama, therefore, means cultivating breath awareness and vital energy.
Pranayama involves various breathing exercises, each with specific techniques and benefits. These breathing exercises may include techniques like deep and slow breathing, rapid breath control, alternate nostril breathing, and more.
To integrate pranayama into your daily routine dedicate a specific time each day for your pranayama practice. It could be in the morning to start your day with a sense of calm and focus, or in the evening.
Choose a pranayama technique for your daily routine
Select a specific pranayama technique that suits your needs or goals for the day. You can choose from techniques like Nadi Shodhana, Ujjayi, or Bhastrika, depending on whether you want to calm your mind, energize yourself, or improve your lung capacity.
Here is a list of some amazing pranayamas.
Nadi Shodhana Pranayama
Sit straight in Sukhasana posture and close your eyes. Close the right nostril with the thumb of the right hand and exhale completely. Now breathe through the left nostril, close the left nostril with the middle finger, and hold your breath for some time as per your capacity. Then remove the right thumb and exhale slowly. Exhale for 1-2 seconds. Repeat this process with the right nostril.
Benefits – Reduces stress and anxiousness, cleanses the pranic channels, enhances respiratory function, relaxes your body and mind, and promotes overall well-being.
To do Kapalbhati Pranayama, sit in Sukhasana by straightening the spine. Keep your hands comfortably on your knees with your hands towards the sky. Now take a long deep breath in. While exhaling, pull your stomach inwards. The stretch should be in such a way that it touches your spine. But do it as easily as possible in the initial phase. When you relax your abdominal muscles, the breath automatically reaches your lungs. Exhale 20 times to complete one cycle.
Benefits – Improves circulation, bolsters memory, concentration, and intelligence, supports immunity and balances, and strengthens the nervous system.
Sit in a lotus posture or easy posture in a comfortable place. If you feel uncomfortable sitting then you can use a chair. Keep the spine completely straight and close the eyes. Take a deep breath in through the nose. Insert the thumbs of both hands inside the ears.
Place the first two fingers (index fingers) of the hands on the forehead and the other fingers on the closed eyes. Keeping the mouth closed, while exhaling, pronounce Om which will produce the sound ‘Hmmmmmm’.
Benefits – Calms and quiets the mind, lowers blood pressure, soothes the nerves, and stimulates the pineal and pituitary glands, supporting their proper functioning.
Close your eyes stabilize your body and keep both hands in Gyan Mudra. Now, like a bellows, inhale rapidly through the nose and exhale. Remember that when you inhale, the lungs should expand and while exhaling, the lungs should contract. You have to do this process 15 times. While doing this pranayama, the time of inhalation and exhalation should be the same. Now take a deep breath slowly from both nostrils exhale slowly from both nostrils and relax.
Sit in any Padmasana or Sukhasana position. Now take a deep and long breath. Now while exhaling slowly, chant Om. While doing this pranayama, it is very important to concentrate on breathing. Now repeat this process for 5 to 10 minutes.
Benefits – It is an excellent breathing exercise for meditation. Control high blood pressure, boost weight loss, improve attention, create a positive mood, and improve memory power.
Integrating pranayama and breath awareness into your daily routine is a powerful way to cultivate a deeper connection, increase calmness, focus, and energy, as well as improve respiratory health.