Pranayama is amongst the most crucial aspects of modern living and yoga. The practice focuses on the regulation and control of your breathing patterns through the use of specific breathing exercises and techniques.
Pranayama has three stages, and for you to effectively reap from its benefits, all of them must be followed. These are, namely, puraka, meaning inhalation through the nostrils, rechaka, meaning exhalation, and kumbhaka, meaning holding of your breath in and outside of your body.
That said, here are various pranayama exercises you will learn in Reiki level 2 courses.
Dirga Pranayama: Three Part Breath
This exercise is perfect for pranayama beginners, and it works by teaching you how to complete the three-part breath. The three parts involve fully and effectively filling your lungs to capacity, exhaling correctly, and holding your breath inside or outside of your body when required to.
The technique is highly beneficial in the relieving of stress and tension experienced in daily life.
Ujjayi Pranayama: Ocean Breath
This technique works by reducing the amount of air passing through the throat, requiring you to lengthen the cycle of your breath to make it full, deep, long, and controlled. It is mostly applied in Vinyasa flow yoga due to its power, as it can support a vigorous flow.
You can use this technique to calm your nervous system and boost oxygen consumption in your brain to maximise alertness.
Nadi Shodhana: Nostril Breathing
This hatha yoga practice aims at the purification of the energy channels in your body. The exercise involves blocking of one nostril while you inhale and exhale using the other, before switching sides. Since some people have problems paying attention at the beginning of an exercise, Nadi Shodhana helps improve your focus and concentration during yoga.
Additionally, it is useful in alleviating anxiety, controlling racing thoughts, and stress before sleeping.
Simhasana Pranayama: The Lions Breath
This exercise aims at stretching your entire facial structure to enhance flow through your mind and body. The practice involves opening your mouth wide by lowering your jaw, and sticking your tongue out in a downward curling position, as you exhale forcefully.
This exhalation works by eliminating negative emotions such as bitterness, anger and feelings of worthlessness that are often trapped inside the body.
Kapalabhati Pranayama: Skull Shining Breath
This exercise is saved for the experienced in pranayama, as it is vigorous and warming. It works by strengthening the abdominal and diaphragm muscles while energising your brains at the same time. This breathing exercise is highly advanced, and you may experience light-headedness if not correctly done.
As such, it is recommended that it is only done in a group under supervision. It is best used to prepare the mind for strenuous exercises or anything that requires special focus.
Including pranayama in your yoga practice goes a long way in ensuring both physical and psychological fitness. It also improves your well-being, particularly for people with existing breathing problems. However, yoga exercises should never substitute your medication.
Note that if you are not experienced, pranayama is best done with professional supervision.