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Pranayama (Breathing)

Extract from the booklet ‘International Day of Yoga’ issued by the Indian ministry of ayurveda, yoga & naturopathy, unani, siddha and homoeopathy (AYUSH), part V

Kapalabhati can be practiced sitting in any meditative posture: suk?asana/padmasana/vajrasana. While you can breathe slowly and deeply, the exhaling should be done with force allowing the abdominal muscles to contract and relax. However, while exhaling the should not be any undue movements in the chest and shoulder region and inhalation should be passive throughout the practice. Practice this 30*3 by deeply breathing in the breaks.

Kapalabhati purifies the frontal air sinuses; helps overcome cough disorders; is useful in treating cold, rhinitis, sinusitis, asthma and bronchial infections; rejuvenates the whole body, and keeps the face young and vibrant. It also balances and strengthens the nervous system and tones up the digestive system.

Avoid this practice in case of cardiac conditions and giddiness, high blood pressure, vertigo, chronic bleeding in the nose, epilepsy, migraine, stroke, hernia and gastric ulcers.

Nadisodhna or Anuloma Viloma can be done in any meditative posture. Place the ring and small fingers on the left nostril; fold the middle and index finger and place the right thumb on the right nostril. Breathe in from the left nostril; then close the left nostril with the small and ring fingers and release the thumb from the right nostril to exhale. Next, inhale through the right nostril. Repeat five times.

The main purpose of this pranayama is to purify the principle channels of carrying energy called naid's, thus it nourishes the whole body. It induces tranquility and helps improve concentration; increases vitality and lowers the level of stress and anxiety; and elevates cough disorders.

Bhramari can be practiced in any meditative posture. Close the eyes with index fingers, mouth with ring and small fingers and ears from respective thumbs. Inhale deeply; then exhale slowly in a controlled manner while making a deep, steady humming sound such as that of black bee. Repeat five times.

Bhramari relives stress and helps alleviate anxiety, anger and hyperactivity. The humming sound creates a soothing effect on the mind and nervous system. It’s a great tranquilizer, and found to be good in the management of stress-related disorders. It’s a useful preparatory pranayama for concentration and meditation.

Avoid this practice in case of nose and ear infections.

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