It is well-known that besides physical health benefits, yoga has many psychological health benefits too. Yoga consists of many components, each with a specific purpose. One of these components is pranayam. Pranayama refers to specific breathing techniques that people perform as a part of or transition between asanas. Notwithstanding, it is likewise a training all alone. Pranayama breathing is of many types, and just like different asanas, they have different functions too. Some pranayama yoga exercises help you counter fatigue; some allow you to derive energy, some increase concentration, while others increase metabolism. In this post, we will deal with the best pranayama for stress relief.
This exercise helps the parasympathetic nervous system to take a backseat so that the body can exit its fight-or-flight state. In an adrenaline rush, our body takes longer inhales, and choppy exhales. The exhalation lengthening exercise is the opposite. In this, one can stand, sit, or lie down. Whatever pose they take, they must try to relax and count the length of their inhale and exhale. If the inhale is longer, count the seconds to bring it down to the same duration as the exhale. Now, gradually, lengthen your exhale, one second at a time, until it is double the length of the inhale. A minimum of 4-8 seconds combination is excellent for beginners.
The calming breath is the best pranayama for anxiety attacks and sensory overload. Even medical professionals prescribe it to people suffering from extreme stress due to various reasons. In this, you must close your mouth and only use your nose for breaths.
Breath awareness calms you by making you establish control over your breathing and your body. You can sit or lie down for doing it. In either case, put your palms over your navel. Breathe normally, and try to sense how your breath feels without any intervention. As you let breath wash over your body, try to perceive any tension in the body. When and if you do, try to rid yourself of it as you slowly calm your breath. Once relaxed, deepen your breaths, expanding the abdominal cavity with inhales and contracting it with exhales. Repeat till you feel absolutely in control.
Also known as Simha Mudra or Simhasana, this pranayama requires you to kneel completely or sit cross-legged. After this, stretch your hands out and keep them on your knees. First, inhale through your nose. Then, exhale through your mouth while stretching out your tongue as far down towards your chin as possible. Be as vocal as you should be during the breathe out.
Sit cross-legged or kneel completely for kapalbhati pranayama. Place both the hands on your knees with the palms facing upward. Take in a full breath and afterwards, breathe out strongly. As you do as such, pull your stomach in as far back towards your spine as you easily can. Presently let the air fill your lungs as you loosen up your abs. Each forceful exhale should be short, powerful, and done in quick succession.
Anulom Vilom/Nadi Sodhana
There is very little difference between the techniques of anuloma viloma and Nadi shodhana. In anulom vilom pranayam, the person inhales and exhales in succession, while in nadi shodhana pranayama, one must hold their breath between inhales and exhales. Sit straight for this exercise. From that point forward, with your correct thumb, close your correct nostril and breathe in gradually through your left nostril. Contingent upon which method you are utilizing, you might hold your breath. Presently, press your ring finger over your left nostril and breathe out gradually through the correct one. In this same position, directly inhale through the right nostril and exhale through the left as before. Do as many repetitions as you need.
Sitali and Sitkari pranayama complement each other like yin and yang. Inhale through this channel as you lift your head. Now take your language back in, close your mouth, and exhale while bringing your face back to the normal position. In sitkari pranayama, you have to open your mouth with the tongue behind your teeth. Inhale as you raise your head. Then, close your mouth and exhale as you bring your head back to look straight.
This technique is all about breath retention. Sit straight and inhale slowly as far as you can. At that point breathe out gradually as much as possible and hold your breath for a similar period as in the past. It accomplishes breath mindfulness.
Also called ocean breath or victorious breath, ujjayi breathing revitalizes and stimulates the mind and body. For this, close your mouth and constrict your throat. Now breathe in as deeply as possible through the back of your nasal passage, keeping the anterior nasal passage relaxed. It will make the ujjayi breath sound like a deep, rushing whoosh like the ocean; hence the name.
Brahmari or Bhramari pranayama gets its name due to the buzzing or humming sound made during the exercise, like bees. To do it, close your mouth, contract your glottis, and breathe in forcefully and deeply through your nose. Presently inhale out gradually, making a murmuring sound as you do.
Pranayama is a fundamental portion of yoga practice. As you learn yoga, you will also learn to use pranayama for anxiety and stress relief. The Pranayama and Meditation Workshop at Ilina Yoga is a great place to learn these exercises hands-on and more.