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Breathe Better with Pranayama

Manish Pole

Yoga expert

3 min read


The simple act of breathing can help us focus, stay calm and free our minds from stress.

We all need to find stillness, fix our minds in the present and experience inner peace. This has become all the more imperative now, as we experience a devastating second wave of the pandemic. So, how can you find your peace in the chaos? Start by taking a breath.

What is Pranayama?

Pranayama means ‘prana’ (livingness) and ‘ayama’ (expansion of livingness). It involves the regulation of breath to attain physical and mental wellness. The more someone practices this routine, the more they become full of life energy. And, that’s why it is beneficial for your immune system and body—breath, oxygen and heart rate.

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How Pranayama helps

Stress and anxiety can trigger a multitude of health conditions such as hypertension, diabetes, thyroid problems and so much more. Low energy levels can contribute to conditions of stress and anxiety. Pranayama enhances a person’s energy levels. When this happens, it makes you physically healthier and mentally happier. Pranayama keeps you in a peaceful and relaxed frame of mind.

According to a 2019 study in the International Journal of Yoga, 6 weeks of 1-hour pranayama practice improved lung function drastically. The study also suggests that pranayama is useful in managing many lung conditions such as asthma, tuberculosis, allergic bronchitis and pneumonia.

In 2014, a study published in the international Journal of Applied & Basic Medical Research stated that Pranayama may help reduce high blood pressure. Participants with mild hypertension who were asked to practice pranayama alongside medication, showed a greater reduction in high blood pressure.


Pranayama is useful in managing many lung conditions such as asthma, tuberculosis, allergic bronchitis and pneumonia


Pranayama Guidelines for Beginners
  1. Learn from a trained professional.
  2. Refer to Hatha yoga books – meaning ‘stubborn practice of yoga’.
  3. Don’t rush your learning process. It is believed that training Pranayama is like training wild animals. Going too fast will damage your body and your nervous system.
  4. Indulge in an energising Pranayama like Bhastrika Pranayama, a balancing one like Anuloma Viloma Pranayama and a relaxing one like Ujjayi or Brahmari Pranayama. By performing Anuloma Viloma and the other pranayamas, you’ll be able to strike a balance and live a healthy life.

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Ideal time to practice Pranayama
  1. Practice Pranayama in the early hours of the morning and in the evening
  2. Do it for 15-30 minutes. This will help you to be mindful through the day.
  3. Preferably perform Pranayama in the presence of nature or in a park.
How to perform Sahaj Pranayama

If you want to begin practicing Pranayama and master the art, it is best to start with the simple Sahaj Pranayama. There are four elements:

Step 1: Take a deep breath (Purak)
Step 2: Hold your breath (Anthar Kumbak)
Step 3: Slowly exhale (Rechak)
Step 4: Hold your breath (Bahya or Bahar Kumbak)

Take it slow. If you feel restless during the process, make sure to play some light classical music in the background. This will keep you relaxed.