With everything going on around us and within our lives, everyone wants a respite from the worries of everyday lives to de-stress and rejuvenate. But, when the work routines and daily obligations make it difficult to plan, much less getaway on an escape holiday, finding an adequate replacement that doesn’t require you to pause your usual schedules becomes imperative.
And pranayama is something that ticks all those boxes and is worth considering. Being a type of meditation technique, you will only need to take an hour or half out of your morning to gain all the health benefits that it offers.
Here are four different types of pranayama and their positive effects on our bodies:
- Shitali pranayama
Called the ‘cooling breath’, this pranayama calms your brain and helps manage the darker emotions like sadness, fear, anger and regret. It also has a cooling effect on your body, can help with summer skin diseases by reducing excess heat and also helps lower blood pressure. First, sit upright, your legs crossed, and your body relaxed. Next, open your mouth in an O shape, roll your tongue, so it makes a small tube and breathes through it. Hold, exhale through the nose and repeat for a few rounds.
- Nadi Shodhana
Also called the alternate nostril breathing technique, Nadi Shodhana is meant to unblock and purify ‘nadi’s or energy channels. Sit comfortably on a yoga mat with your spine straight, shoulders relaxed, and jaw unclenched. Place the tips of your index and middle finger of your left hand between your brows, the ring and little finger on your right nostril and thumb on your left. Inhale, hold and exhale in the time ratio 1:1:2 using alternate nostrils; use the fingers to close one nostril at a time. This pranayam lightens the mood, relieves stress and anxiety, and calms the mind. It also improves the respiratory system.
- Kapalbhati pranayama
This is an excellent form of pranayam if your goal is to lose weight and have a toned belly, as it effectively improves metabolism by stimulating the digestive organs. Kapalbhati roughly translates to ‘shining skull’ as it also benefits all brain areas, an organ under the skull. Sit down and make sure you are not slouching; place one palm flat against your stomach. Take a long deep breath and exhale with force while pushing your navel towards your back- only as much as you comfortably can. Complete 20 passive inhales and short bursts of exhales to complete one round and for a minute before starting the next round.
- Bhramari pranayama
Also known as the bumblebee breath, bhramari pranayama has proven to effectively relieve stress, anger, or frustration almost instantly, calming nerves and releasing any tension or stiffness in our bodies. First, sit in a comfortable position, spine erect. Next, block your ears using the thumbs, place your index and middle fingers on your closed eyelids, place your ring and pinky fingers above and below your lips. Now, take a deep breath and make a buzzing sound as you exhale. Continue for six rounds. This pranayama can also be done lying down and warm-up before your yoga session.
By fitting a combination of these into your daily routines, you will be unlocking many health benefits that will allow you to live and enjoy life without having to deal with a truckload of diseases and disorders!