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Pranayama(Breath) Exercises to Heal

Updated: Sep 19, 2019

Learning yogic breath control exercises is one of the most important parts of developing your yoga practice. Called “pranayama” in Sanskrit, these breathing exercises can help to bring balance and depth to your overall well-being. According to the ancient text, the Yoga Sutras, compiled by the sage Patanjali in 150 BCE, pranayama is one of the classical Eight Limbs of Yoga. Pranayama helps to cleanse, balance, and purify your essential life force (called “prana” in Sanskrit). Adding pranayama to your yoga and meditation practice can help you stay healthy in mind, body, and spirit.

Breath of Joy

Breath of Joy has been found to be particularly effective in managing mood, and will leave you feeling more balanced and refreshed. The practice counters the shallow upper chest breathing of anxiety by inviting the breath to completely fill the lungs.

The strong inhalations and synchronized arm movements, awakens your entire system —increasing oxygen levels in the bloodstream, temporarily stimulating the sympathetic nervous system, circulating more prana, and gently stoking agni. The forceful exhalation lightly detoxifies the body and helps release pent-up tension.

How to perform

1. Stand with your feet a little wider than hip-distance apart and your knees softly bent.

2. As you inhale one-third of your lung capacity through your nose, swing your arms forward and up to shoulder height with your arms parallel and palms facing skyward.

3. As you inhale the next third, swing your arms out wide like the wings of a flying bird.

4. As you inhale to capacity, swing your hands out in front again and reach your arms overhead, keeping them parallel and shoulder distance apart with palms facing one another.

5. Finally, vocalize your exhale, emitting a gleeful “ha” sound, as you cascade into a slouchy forward bend with bent knees.

6. Repeat up to nine more times, picking up speed, momentum and volume as you go. Experiment with lifting onto your toes and using your knees to add spring to the action.


If you have a tendency towards dizziness or low blood pressure, you can eliminate the forward fold at the end, and just keep the arm movements. You will still get a similar effect.If you have balance issues, you can practice this on a stool or chair without arms, and use the same arm movements and forward fold from the chairIf you have shoulder or arm pain, only move your arms in a way that feels good to you.

Benefits of

manage symptoms of depression

counter shallow upper-chest breathing

energize the body

release tension  


This practice may not be appropriate for everyone. Skip it if you have high blood pressure or if you suffer from any kind of head or eye injury, like migraines or glaucoma. If you start to feel light-headed, instead of light-headed, stop for a minute and just breathe normally.

Bhramari Pranayama Humming Bee Breath.

The Bhramari pranayama breathing technique derives its name from the black Indian bee called Bhramari. Bhramari pranayama is effective in instantly calming down the mind. It is one of the best breathing exercises to free the mind of agitation, frustration or anxiety and get rid of anger to a great extent. A simple technique, it can be practiced anywhere - at work or home and is an instant option to de-stress yourself.

How to perform

To do bhramari pranayama, sit on the yoga mat in in a comfortable meditation asana depending upon your ease and comfort you can sit in Padmasana, Siddhayoni asana or sukhasana.

Place the feet flat on the floor with the knees raised with the elbows resting on the knees. While practicing the bhramari pranayama, the spinal cord should be erect, the head straight and the hands should be resting on the knees in chin or jnana mudra.Close the eyes and relax.

The whole body should be at ease. Stay in this pose for a few breaths.While maintaining the posture, your teeth will remain slightly separated while the lips will be gently closed throughout the practice.

Maintaining this allows the sound vibration produced while practicing Bhramari pranayama to be heard and felt more clearly in the brain.

Make sure that the jaws are relaxed while maintaining the posture.

Now, raise the arms sideways and bend the elbows and bring the hands to the ears. From this position, use the index or middle finger to plug both the ears.Make sure that you plug your ears by pressing the flaps of your ears with the thumbs. Make sure that you do not insert your fingers inside your ear.

Place the fingers on your head. When you attain this position, close your eyes and concentrate on the eye center and keep inhaling and exhaling deeply.

Start inhaling deeply through the nose and exhale slowly and in a controlled manner while making a deep, long and steady humming sound.

The humming sound coming of throat should be smooth, and it should be produced during the entire time of exhalation.

The ideal exhalation technique when followed reverberated the skull and give a deep calming and relieving sensation.

This completes one round of the Bhramari pranayama. At the end of each exhalation, breathe in deeply and repeat the process.

Start by performing 5 rounds of bhramari pranayama initially.

Benefits of

This is the best method to achieve concentration of mind. It opens the blockage and gives a feeling of happiness to mind and brain.Beneficial in relieving from hypertension. It relaxes the mind and lowers stress.


Bhramari pranayama should never be practiced while lying down or in a supine position.

People suffering from severe ear infections should also not practice this pranayama until the infection subsides.

People suffering from epilepsy should not practice this pranayama.

Bhramari Pranayama Humming Bee Breath.

Digra Pranayama Three-Part Breath

Three-Part Breath — Dirga (or Deerga) Swasam Pranayama (DEER-gah swha-SAHM prah-nah-YAH-mah) — is often the first breathing technique taught to new yoga practitioners. The “three parts” are the abdomen, diaphragm, and chest. During Three-Part Breath, you first completely fill your lungs with air, as though you are breathing into your belly, rib cage, and upper chest. Then you exhale completely, reversing the flow.

The full name comes from two Sanskrit words. “Dirga” (also spelled “Deerga”) has several meanings, including, “slow,” “deep,” “long,” and “complete.” “Swasam” refers to the breath. Therefore, this practice is sometimes also referred to as “Complete Breath.” It is also often simply called “Dirga Pranayama.”

How to perform

Find a comfortable place to sit or lie down, close your eyes, let go of tension in the body. Bring awareness to your natural breath, observe your inhale and exhale as you breathe through your nose.Slowly lengthen your inhale. Expand your belly as you inhale – filling it up like a balloon.

As you exhale, slowly expel the air out from your belly and draw your navel towards your spine to empty. 

Repeat long, slow belly breaths a few times to get the hang of it.    

On the next inhale, fill the belly as before. When the belly is full, continue to fill the rib cage, allow the ribs to expand in all directions. 

On the exhale, let the air go first from the rib cage, letting the ribs come closer together, then from the belly.

Practice breathing first into the belly and then the rib cage a few times. On the next inhale, expand the belly, then the ribs. When they are full continue to fill the chest.

Imagine your heart is right in the middle of your breast bone and you are breathing into and expanding your heart.  On the exhale, let the breath go first from the upper chest, then from the ribs and lastly the belly.

Therefore the rhythm is as follows:

Inhale: 1-belly, 2-ribs, 3-chest; Exhale: 1-chest 2-ribs, 3-belly

Continue this sequence at your own pace, trying to use a long, soft and slow breath.

Over time this breathing technique will feel effortless. The transitions between each of the three areas with start to blend smoothly and the breath will feel as one.

Benefits of

Learning to breathe deeply will increase your oxygen supply, which, in turn, will help to decrease stress and anxiety levels. Additionally, focusing on your body during Three-Part Breath brings awareness to the present moment and calms your mind. According to studies, you can inhale and exhale up to seven times as much air (and oxygen and prana) during a three-part breath than in a shallow, chest-based breath. This deep breathing is the foundation for other yogic exercises, such as meditation and cleansing kriyas.


The main requirement in pranayama is that respiration be comfortable and relaxed, never forced. If at any stage you feel dizzy, nauseous or light-headed you should practice with less force, shorten the length of the breath, or stop the practice all together.