Yoga and Breathwork

Yoga in combination with breathwork is a method to harmonize body and mind in an comprehensive way, to release mental and physical blockages and to find the needed balance of stress in everyday life. Yoga is not only about performing different poses for increasing your strength and flexibility. There is a dedicated branch that focuses on different breathing techniques called Pranayama, which is "the practice of breath control".

Breathing in a controlled way helps to balance energy, stabalises your mood and increases concentration level by calming your mind and soul. Not only in yoga, breathing is also important when performing any other exercise. Missing out on this important step can reduce the effectiveness of the workout you are doing. Here are 3 most important yoga breathing techniques you must include in your workout routine:



Ujjayi Pranayama or Ocean breath


The name "Ujjayi Pranayama" is derived from the Sanskrit word “Ujjayi,” which means to conquer. This form of pranayama helps to keep your mind calm and body warm. You have to take a deep breath from both the nostrils with a half-closed glottis.


How to do it:

Step 1: Sit down on the ground in any meditative pose with closed eyes and spine neutral.

Step 2: Take deep breaths in and out through your mouth. Feel the air passing through your windpipe.

Step 3: Once you are comfortable with your exhales, try to contract the back of your throat (your glottis or soft palate), constricting the passage of air. There will be a soft hissing sound.

Step 4: Once you are comfortable with the exhales, apply the same contraction of the throat while inhaling.

Step 5: When you are able to contract your throat on both inhale and exhale, close the mouth and start breathing through the nose.

Step 6: When you are breathing, the air should fill your lungs to the fullest. Start with 5 minutes then increase your timing.




2 Kapalbhati Pranayama or Skull Shining Breath

Kapalbhati Pranayama or Skull Shining Breath is a powerful breathing technique and quite famous among the yogis. This is an alternating, short explosive exhales and longer inhales technique. Kapalbhati Pranayama is excellent to increase your concentration level.


How to do it:

Step 1: Sit comfortably on the ground with your spine erect.

Step 2: Now take a deep breath in through your nose and as you exhale pull your navel and stomach back towards the spine.

Step 3: Exhale quickly through your nose relaxing your navel and abdomen.

Step 4: Repeat this process 20 times then slow down and exhale slowly.



3 Nadi Shodhana or Alternate Nostril Breathing

Nadi Shodhana Pranayama is derived from two Sanskrit words - “Nadi” which means “Nerves” and “Shodhana” which is referred to as “Cleaning” or “Purification”. This pranayama is done to balance the energy system in the body.


How to do it:

Step 1: Sit down comfortably on the ground with your spine erect and relaxed.

Step 2: Slowly breathe in and out and make yourself comfortable in this position.

Step 3: Rest your left hand on your thigh in meditation pose by joining the head of your thumb and index finger. Bring your right hand in Nasagra mudra by folding your middle and index finger.

Step 4: Close the right nostril with the thumb of your right hand. Take a deep breath with your left nostril and then close it with your ring and little finger.

Step 5: Open your right nostril and breathe out. Then breathe in with your right nostril and close it with your thumb. Again open your left nostril and exhale. Repeat this 10 times in the beginning then you can increase the count.