This article is a guest post by James Anderson from http://sarvyoga.com/ . Enjoy! :)
Pranayama is the best breathing exercise in yoga. Pranayama is a process of control over the breathing process in our body. it can be achieved by controlling the inhalation and exhalation breathing process through our nostrils. It refers to the breathing methods by which relaxation, meditation and concentration can be achieved. Pranayama consists of three stages which are inhalation of air, retention of air and exhalation of air respectively. All these exercises focus on increasing the time span for each of these three stages of breathing. For performing pranayama the backbone must be straight. Pranayama can be performed even while sitting on a chair but the simple rule is that you should sit straight. There are many types of pranayamas:
- Anulom vilom pranayama : anulom vilom is one of the most common pranayama method. Padmasana is mostly used in this type. In this method, inhalation is done through one nostril while other is used for exhalation. The thumb is used to close one nostril while ring finger is used to close other. Common problems like cough, cold, tonsils can be cured. It is helpful in opening of blockage in the arteries which is also helpful in removal of toxins from the body.
- Kapalbhati pranayama: the word kapalbhati is derived from Sanskrit in ehich kapal means forehead and bhati means shining. In this pranayama fast exhalation and normal inhalation are performed simultaneously. Padmasana is used in this pranayama. In this process slow and deep inhalation of air with the help of both nostrils is done while expanding the abdomen. Exhalation is done while pulling the adomen in. repeat this process continuously. This type of pranayama is useful in purifying blood, enhancement of oxygen supply in the body, improvement in digestive system, useful for lungs and respiratory processes.
- Sheetkari pranayama: in the word sheetkari shee stands for the sound “sheee..” that is produced while performing this pranayama and kari means which produces. So, the breathing exercise which produces shee sound is called sheetkari pranayama. The technique to perform this is by clinching the upper and lower teeth, widening of lips, inhale slowly and deeply making sound ‘sheee. After this hold the breath for awhile and exhale through the nose slowly. By performing 10 to 15 rounds daily the problem related to teeth like pyorrhoeacan be cured and mouth can be kept clean. It is also helpful in removing excess heat from the body.
- Ujjai pranayama: in this pranayama tighten the neck muscles and make sound with closed mouth. Hold the breath, close right nostril and exhale slowly with left nostril. This pranayama removes cough and clears throat, cures snoring problem, strengthen heart muscles and is benefit for thyroid patients.
- Sheetli pranayama: in hindi, sheetal means calmness. This pranayam is helpful in relieving internal heat and maintaining mental, emotional calmness. This pranayama is helpful in purifying blood,refreshing body and mind. It is useful for the people who have blood pressure and acidity problems. this pranayama keeps the body and mind cool.