Yoga Breathing Routine by Baba Ramdev - Yoga Pranayama, Kapalbhati and Its Technics Explained
There are six branches of yoga. That which is commonly known as yoga today is actually Hatha yoga or the yoga of postures, the most popular, familiar and commonly practiced form of yoga today, especially in the West.
Hatha yoga is one of the six branches of yoga.
Hatha yoga has 3 arms to it namely :
- Yoga asanas - the yogic physical postures.
- Pranayama or yoga breathing.
This hub is about yoga breathing or Pranayama.
What Is Yoga Breathing
Yoga breathing or pranayama is, simply, controlled breathing or breathing done the yoga way.
The yoga breathing techniques or routines explained here are as described and suggested by Swami Ramdev, India's most popular yog guru.
Yoga practitioners till about 2 decades back kept yoga techniques mystified in wraps and propagated the view that yoga should be done only under the vigil of a trained yoga guru. This attitude kept the benefits of yoga away from the common man who found it difficult to find a guru to either take individual lessons or practice it in a group due to a number of reasons.
Swami Ramdev, India's most popular yog guru today, demystified yoga and brought it within the reach of the common man. To him goes the credit of starting free yoga camps all over the country with a view to make available to the public, a much tested and tried ancient health practice - YOGA. By broadcasting the entire proceedings live on television every morning, he managed to bring yoga into the daily lives of millions of people. He simplified the techniques and outlined the procedure, the do's and don'ts by a live, practical demonstration.
Yoga is not a religion but a way of life. A way to physical, mental and spiritual upliftment and benefit.
Within yoga itself, there are many practices for improving health to attaining moksha - becoming one with God. Herein, I will concentrate on one such practice for remaining healthy or for attaining freedom from disease and keeping healthy, that is yoga breathing or pranayama.
Yoga Breathing or Pranayam Rules
- Select a calm, quiet and clean place to practice the pranayam routines.
- In polluted areas, light a lamp of ghee before hand at the place to be used for performing pranayam.
- One can sit in the lotus pose or crosslegged. If this is not possible one can even sit on a chair. Sit erect normally.
- Always breathe through the nose.
- Keep calm and cheerful and don't be in a rush to finish the routines,
- Take rest in between pranayam or different routines if you feel tired or do alternating light exercises.
- Eat simple pure food. Milk, ghee, almonds and fruits are beneficial in moderate amounts.
- Do not forcibly hold the breath during pranayama. Practice pranayama slowly with moderate effort and without hurry.
- It is beneficial to do OM chanting before starting pranayam though this is not a compulsion.
- Bath can be taken before or 15 minutes after finishing pranayam.
- Juice or light food can be taken 15 minutes after completing the routines.
- Avoid tea, coffee or other stimulating drinks immediately after pranayam.
- Avoid heavy, fried and fatty foods. Milk, curd, buttermilk, fruit juice, green vegetable juices and fruits like papayas, apples, guavas and cherries are healthy food choices.
- Take sprouted seeds and grains, porridge or some easily digestible food after pranayama.
- On awakening in the morning, the first thing is to drink water and wash the eyes with cold water. this benefits the stomach and eyes.
- Pregnant women should doing Kapalbhati, bahya and agnisaar routines. The other routines are also to be performed gently.
During menses, except for the Bahya routine, other routines can be performed gently.
- Persons with heart disease and high blood pressure must do all the pranayams, very slowly and gently without force.
- Kapalbhati can be started 4 to 6 months after any surgical operation. In case of Byepass and angioplasty, one can do Anulom Vilom, Bhramri, udgeet afer a week but very gently.
- Between breakfast and lunch drink water once while between lunch and dinner drink small quantities, several times. This prevents diseases of the digestive and urinary system, obesity and cholesterol problems.
The 8 Breathing Routines Or Exercises
The pranayam or yoga breathing techniques as taught by Swami Ramdev, consist of 8 breathing routines. They are :
- Anulom Vilom
The video below explains the pranayam techniques in detail. Though it is a long video, it is excellent for those who are interested in pranayam and either want to make a beginning, want to know the correct method of performing pranayam or take a refresher course.
Lot of other do's and don'ts and other valuable information is contained in this video.
The video has been dubbed in English, making it useful as well for those who do not know Hindi.
This video will enable you to see for yourself how to do yoga breathing or pranayama correctly.
Also, the 8 pranayams or yoga breathing techniques have been dealt with individually below, each with an accompanying video clip. Though this clip has audio in hindi it will benefit the reader as he can see how exactly the visual corelates with the written explanation.
Pranayam Explained and Demonstrated By Swami Ramdev
The 8 Yoga breathing or Pranayam Techniques Explained
Yoga breathing or pranayama can be done in any comfortable posture like padmasan or the lotus pose, sukhasan or sitting cross legged or even sitting on a chair.
1. Bhastrika Pranayama
Sit in any comfortable posture.
Breathe in through the nose and fill air up to the diaphragm. Then slowly breathe out.
Do it at a constant pace and rhythm about 12 times a minute. This makes for inhaling and exhaling every 5 secs.
One can start off with a minute or two initially and as one gets used to it can increase it to 5 minutes a day. Initially, one can take rest in between, if need be, a few times.
Healthy or slightly sick persons can do it for 5 minutes daily.
Those with serious diseases like cancer etc must do it for 10 minutes daily split in 2 sittings of 5 minutes each, morning and evening.
- People with high blood pressure and heart disease should only do it at slow speed and gently.
- Do not fill stomach with the air you inhale. Fill only up to the diaphragm
- In summer do it slowly
- All diseases due to kapha, like colds, allergy, TB, asthma, sinus, catarrh etc are corrected. Lungs become strong.
- Throat disease like thyroid and tonsillitis are overcome.
- Blood is purified since toxins are removed. The 3 doshas get balanced.
2. Kapalbhati Pranayama
Kapal means forehead and bhati is glow or radiance. Therefore doing this pranayama makes the forehead glow.
Kapalbhati is slightly different than Bhastrika.
In Bhastrika, equal force is applied during inhalation and exhalation, while,
In Kapalbhati, the exhalation is forceful and predominant. the inhalation is naturally automatic.
The emphasis in this breathing routine is only on exhalation while the inhalation ia a natural corollary to the exhalation.
Kapalbhati exerts a pressure on the pelvic plexus, hypogastric plexus and the solar plexus due to the contraction and expansion of the abdomen.
- Sit in a convenient position with the arms outstretched and resting on the knees and the fingers as in the Gyan mudra.
- Start off with a forceful exhalation. The abdomen automatically should get pushed in as it naturally happens when we cough (cough and see for yourself how your abdominal muscles react).
- After the breath is fully exhaled the inhalation is natural and shallow. It should not be forced.
- The exhalation and the following inhalation makes 1 stroke.
- The entire focus in this pranayama is on forced exhalation. Apply medium force while exhaling.
Kapalbhati should be done at a speed of 60 strokes a minute thus completing 300 strokes in 5 minutes at a stretch, the minimum time kapalbhati should be done for full benefit. Initially, one can take rest after a minute or two or when tired but one can do a 5 minute kapalbhati, without a break,in about 15 days.
After a long practice one can do kapalbhati for 15 minutes at one go.
Healthy people and those slightly ill should do kapalbhati for 15 minutes daily, once a day, 5 minutes at a time. This makes a total of 900 strokes for kapalbhati.
People with serious diseases like cancer, infertility. cysts, hepatitis etc should do kapalbhati for 1/2 hour daily or better still 1/2 hour twice a day.
- It benefits in diseases like asthma, allergy, sinusitis and other respiratory diseases.
- Diseases of the heart, lungs and brain are corrected.
- Relieves obesity, diabetes, flatulence, constipation, acidity, kidney and prostrate problems.
- Reduces abdominal fat, clears blocked arteries.
- Benefits & improves the functioning of the liver, spleen, intestines and pancreas.
Anulom Vilom Pranayam
3. Anulom Vilom Pranayama
It is basically breathing alternately through both the nostrils.
Sit in your preferred position with the arms outstretched and fingers as in gyan mudra.
Raise the right hand and close the right nostril. Inhale through the left nostril in an easy flowing jerk free movement, at normal speed.
On completing the inhalation, close the left nostril with either the ring finger or the middle finger and exhale through the right nostril.
Then inhale again through this nostril, the right one and exhale through the left nostril.
This makes 1 full breath or set.
In this way the breathing has to be carried on without stopping, in an easy rythmic flow maintaining normal force while inhaling or exhaling.
One may get tired after taking a few breaths initially as one is not used to it or may feel slightly giddy because of the rush of extra oxygen to the brain.
If so, rest for a while till you feel better and start again.
Start off by doing it for 2 minutes initially and slowly increase to 5 minutes a day over a period of some weeks.
One can do it for 15 minutes if one is healthy or having minor problems. In cases of cancer, psoriasis, kidney diseases etc it can be done for 30 minutes.
- It cleanses all the energy channels which run into billions in number. Thus the body becomes perfectly healthy and strong.
- One is relieved of the diseases of the bone and joint system, urinary system, digestive system, respiratory system and other systems.
- Blockages in the arteries are removed. HDL, LDL and triglycerides levels are normalised.
- In fact, all diseases of the body are removed.
4. Bahya Pranayam
Sit in your preferred position with the arms outstretched and the fingers in gyan mudra.
Forcefully exhale as much of the breath as you can in one go.
The stomach will go in. With the stomach in, apply the 3 bandhs - mulabandha, uddiyana bandha and the jalandhar bandha simultaneously.
Keep the breath out as long as you are comfortable.
When breathing in, release the bandhs gently. Now, without taking a pause, exhale again. This completes 1 round.
The inhalation and exhalation should be for 3 to 5 secs while the holding of breath out should be for 10 to 15 secs. One round therefore, takes about 20 to 25 secs.
A total of 2 minutes with 5 rounds of bahya pranayam is sufficient daily.
Initially one can take a breath or two in between 2 rounds if one is tired.
- It corrects digestive problems and improves digestion.
- It is very useful in male and female sexual disorder.
- It makes the brain sharp and cleanses the body.
The 3 Bandhs and the method to apply them, are given below :
How To Apply The 3 Bandhs
The 3 bandhs are :
1. Jalandhar Bandh
Sit in the preferred position. Rest arms on both knees and fingers in Gyan mudra.
Breathe out and hold, then bend chin towards the chest.
Rest the chin on the throat pit below the Adam's apple.
Keep your gaze between the eyebrows.
It benefits in throat diseases, thyroid, tonsils and enhances the voice quality.
2. Uddiyan Bandh
Sit as above.
Breathe out and hold. Simultaneously pull the stomach in.
Keep the body straight and chest raised and apply the jalandhar bandh.
All stomach diseases are relieved.
3. Mula Bandh
Sit in your preferred position.
Exhale with the stomach going in.
Pull up the anus and the urinary organ.
This way the area below the navel gets pulled up and in.
It relieves constipation and piles.
The digestive system is toned.
It helps in maintaining celibacy.
Applying all the 3 bandhs together, in sitting posture, is also called Maha Bandh.
Bahya Pranayama And Agnisaar Pranayama
5. Agnisar Pranayam
Sit in the preferred posture with the arms on knees and the fingers in Gyan mudra.
Breathe out and simultaneously pull the stomach in.
Now hold the breath out and perform rapid in and out motion of the stomach for 10 to 15 secs.
Breathe in again.
Repeat 3 to 5 times in this way.
This pranayam helps to correct all problems related to digestion and elimination.
Gives a good massage to the internal abdominal organs like the kineys, liver etc.
6. Bhramri Pranayam
Sit in the preferred posture with the arms and fingers as before.
Inhale deeply and completely.
Raise the hands and rest the middle fingers of both the hands at the base of the nose bridge, near the eyes.
With the thumbs close both the ears from outside. Close the eyes.
Breathe in through both the nostrils and then exhale by resonating OM in slow speed.
This is one set.
Repeat inhalation and exhalation without stopping.
Do 5 to 7 sets without stopping.
It will take about 3 minutes.
- It is a good stress buster.
- It improves concentration and helps in meditation.
- It benefits in high blood pressure, heart diseases etc.
7. Udgeet Pranayam
Sit in the preferred posture.
Inhale deeply through both the nostrils for 3 to 5 secs.
Exhale completely by chanting OM in 15 to 20 secs.
Do this 7 to 10 times in about 3 to 5 minutes.
In incurable diseases and for meditating better do for 5 to 10 minutes.
- Benefits in giving relief in incurable disease.
- Helps in meditation.
- It is a safe, gentle and harmless pranayam.
8. Ujjai Pranayam
Sit in your preferred posture.
Constrict the throat muscles while inhaling so as to make a sound.
After the inhalation is complete exhale through the left nostril while keeping the right nostril closed with the thumb.
Initially, one should inhale and exhale without a pause. Once one is used to this practice, hold the breath for the same amount of time as taken for inhalation and then exhale.
- It relieves cold, cough, thyroid problems, heart problems, tonsilitis, insomnia, snoring, stress, high blood pressure, asthma, lung diseases, rheumatism, TB, spleen disorders etc
- It also corrects lisping problems in children.
My Other Hubs On Yoga
- All About Yoga Hand Posture or Hast Mudras
Hand postures or Hast Mudras in yogic parlance, is a complete science in itself, to heal oneself naturally. To find out more about this alternate healing therapy, read on...
- Yoga Routine - Yoga Asanas And Poses
Yoga routine comprises three independent routines -pranayama, asana and meditation, each independent of each other but interrelated. Yogasanas are the physical postures adopted in yoga for their meditative and healing benefits. Read on to learn more
- Everything About What Yoga Is - All Benefits Explained Simply
Yoga has become a sort of panacea for all ills today. However it was not meant to be just that and it originated as a way of life. To know more about the history, the different branches and forms of yoga, their benefits and what it all meant, read on
The information provided in this hub is not a substitute for professional medical advice. Please consult your physician, or health care provider before taking any home remedies or supplements or embarking on a new health regime.
© 2012 Rajan Singh Jolly