Written by John Immel,
Bhastrika Pranayam: Bellows Breath
Kapalbhati Pranayam: Shining Forehead Breath
Anulom Vilom Pranayam: Alternate Nostril Breath
Bahya Pranayam: External Breath
Bhramari Pranayam: Bee Breath
A Word of Caution About PranayamaWith so much information available on breathing techniques, it can be difficult to know which kinds of breathing practices are helpful, and which are not. Some pranayamas can actually be harmful, including those which are too rapid, as well as those with breath retention. Excessively rapid breathing can lead to hyperventilation. Instead, belly breathing is a gentle practice and the perfect way to work with your breath.
On a physical level, your appetite for breathing is connected to your deepest instinct to live. Breath retention, can disconnect you from that instinct. This can be observed as a suppression of natural urges from an Ayurvedic perspective. Breath retention can detach a person from their natural impulse to breathe the source of life itself - oxygen. Ayurveda encourages a cautious outlook on any practice that may suppress natural urges, especially the breath, as this can weaken other healthy instincts as well,
While belly breathing balances Vata dosha and calms the nervous system, suppression of natural urges in other breathing exercises can have the opposite effect. In these cases, if a Vata aggravation occurs, one may experience feelings of anxiety and confusion. Excessive attention to the breath can lead a person to an excess of clear quality, an imbalance of ether element, and a sense that one is disconnected from reality. Belly breathing is a gentle, grounded way to get the benefits of yoga's breathing techniques, without the side effect of increased ether element.
Those with circulatory and respiratory conditions, impaired diaphragm or any major health concerns should refrain from practicing belly breathing until they have clarification from their health care provider. Check with your medical doctor before starting making and changes to your health and wellness routine. For best results, practice with a qualified expert.
It is best to practice pranayama under a licensed professional. Remember to be gentle with yourself. If you feel your muscles getting sore or any discomfort, you've done enough for the day. Be cautious with pranayama if you've had abdominal surgery.
BROWSE SIMILAR ARTICLES BY TOPIC
CLEARClear refers to anything that cleanses or flushes out wastes, or that digests ama.
PRANAPrana is the Sanskrit word for vital life energy, similar to Qi in Chinese Medicine. Many herbs stimulate your energy, or improve the flow of prana through your body. Generally, prana needs to be increased in spring after a sleepy winter.
AIRResembles air (vayu) in quality - highly mobile, drying, light, cold, subtle, rough.
ETHERResembles ether or space (akasha) in quality - light, subtle, clear, soft.
About the AuthorJohn Immel, the founder of Joyful Belly, teaches people how to have a healthy diet and lifestyle with Ayurveda. His approach to Ayurveda exudes a certain ease, which many find enjoyable and insightful. His online course Balance Your Ayurvedic Diet in a Week provides tools for gracefully healing with Ayurveda to thousands. John also directs Joyful Belly's School of Ayurveda , which specializes in digestive tract pathology & Ayurvedic nutrition. John and his wife Natalie recently published Explore Your Hunger: A Guide to Hunger, Appetite & Food.
John's interest in Ayurveda and digestive tract pathology was inspired by a complex digestive disorder acquired from years of international travel, including his public service work in South Asia. John's commitment to the detailed study of digestive disorders reflects his zeal to get down to the roots of the problem. His hope and belief in the capacity of each & every client to improve their quality of life is nothing short of a personal passion. John's creativity in the kitchen and delight in cooking for others comes from his family oriented upbringing. In addition to his certification in Ayurveda, John holds a bachelor's degree in mathematics from Harvard University.
John enjoys sharing Ayurveda within the context of his Catholic roots, and finds Ayurveda gives him an opportunity to participate in the healing mission of the Church. Jesus expressed God's love by feeding and healing the sick. That kindness is the fundamental ministry of Ayurveda as well.
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