How to Practice Pranayama for Beginners
Pranayama is an integral part of the practice of yoga that focuses on the breath. Otherwise known as “controlled breathing,” there are lots of different pranayamas that you can choose to practice depending on what you want to gain from it.
When you practice pranayama, you increase focus, reduce stress, build up your inner fire, and promote sleep. Today, we’ll look at the benefits of pranayama, how to practice pranayama, and a few specific pranayamas you can try! Whether you live on Mars or on the beautiful island of Koh Samui, pranayama is for everyone.
The Benefits of Pranayama:
Pranayama is the fastest way to learn about, understand, and control our breath (or life force). Here are some of the incredible benefits of the practice.
- Improve Mindfulness. Pranayama takes concentration, and by concentrating on breathing, we are more mindful of our bodies and the present moment.
- Stress Relief. Pranayama calms the nervous system, leading to stress relief and improved sleep.
- Reduce Blood Pressure. Concentrating on breathing slowly and deeply can calm the nervous system, lowering our blood pressure.
- Improve Lung Function. Breathing slowly and deeply for an extended period can improve our lungs’ strength and capacity. What’s better than shallow breathing? Deep, refreshing breaths!
- Improve Concentration. By practicing pranayama, we focus on the present moment, enhancing our attention and focus.
Alternate Nostril Breathing
This practice is excellent for improving concentration and calming the body down in preparation for sleep.
- Take a breath in through the nose.
- Using the right hand, block the right nostril with the thumb and exhale through the left.
- Inhale through the left nostril.
- Block the left nostril with the ring finger and exhale through the right nostril.
- Inhale through the right nostril.
- Block the right nostril with the thumb and exhale through the left.
- Repeat for up to 5 minutes.
The ‘3 parts’ are the abdomen, the diaphragm, and the chest. By concentrating on breathing into each area, we can ensure that we take full inhales and deliver oxygen-rich blood around the body. This soothing cycle gives us the most “bang for our buck.”
- Breathe in 3 parts – inhale into the abdomen, the diaphragm, and the chest.
- Exhale in 3 parts – start with the chest, then the diaphragm, then the belly.
This practice is excellent for improving energy and warming the body when you’re feeling cold.
- Take a deep breath, then exhale sharply as you draw the navel towards the spine.
- Continue sharp and purposeful exhales, with the inhales being passive and happening automatically.
- Try 30 rounds followed by deep breaths – if 30 feels too much, start with 15 rounds.
Here are a few tips for making the most of your pranayama practice.
- Practice daily! Daily practice will help you to experience the incredible benefits of pranayama.
- Choose a quiet spot. Try to practice pranayama in a calm place where you won’t be disturbed for 5-10 minutes. Practicing in silence will make it much easier to focus on your breath and remain mindful.
- Experiment with various techniques! Pranayama is a deep, ancient practice with a rich history. Explore different breathing styles and be open to the possibilities.
Practice Pranayama in Koh Samui, Thailand
Understanding the basics of pranayama isn’t the ending; it’s the beginning! Armed with new insights, how would you like to enhance your understanding of the Vedic arts with a holistic retreat? Situated on the beautiful Thai island of Koh Samui, Visit Natural Detox Resort is here to save the day. Practice pranayama, yoga, Qi Gong, and other holistic arts with our qualified and seasoned instructors.
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