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8 variations of pranayama that have incredible health benefits

8 variations of pranayama that have incredible health benefits
The yogic practise of pranayama is a great way to calm the mind. The anulom vilom pranayama lessens anxiety and slows down your heart rate, lowering blood pressure and balancing the immune and endocrine systems.

Practise these pranayamas anytime of the day in an empty stomach and aid your body recover, repair and function better.

Written by Tania Tarafdar |Updated : June 11, 2015 6:23 PM IST

Breath is our vital source of energy and correct breathing technique can help ward off many diseases. The yogic practice of pranayama can help you control your breath while bringing your body and mind to balance. You can practise these breathing techniques anytime of the day on an empty stomach and aid your body recover, repair and function better.

Kapal Bhati Pranayama

In Sanskrit, kapalbhati pranayama translates to the shining forehead breathing technique. It is a very powerful breathing technique that brings your body and mind to a perfect balance. You can release 80 percent of the toxins from your body while you exhale. With regular practise of this pranayama you can achieve an intellect that is sharp and refined. It can stimulate your abdominal organs and can be extremely useful for those with diabetes. Additionally, this pranayama can be very effective in reducing weight as it will boost metabolism. This pranayama can improve blood circulation and add radiance to your face.

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Bhastrika Pranayama

The quick and sharp breaths of the bhastrika pranayam can get your energy levels soaring. The best feature of this breathing technique is that it helps oxygenate the entire body and relieves any congestion you might have in your nose, throat and sinuses. It is also great for those who suffer from stomach disorders, such as indigestion, gas, and acidity. The movement of the stomach due to the rapid exhalation and inhalation of air stimulates the walls of your intestine, helping it eliminate waste matter (also known as ama in Ayurveda) and function optimally.

Shitali Pranayama

The word shitali means cooling down in Sanskrit and this pranayama is meant to cool down your entire body. While performing shitali pranayam, air is inhaled through the mouth and exhaled through the nostrils. This action of inhaling through the tongue in this technique cools the entire body and relaxes your central nervous system. The pranayama can cure colic, fever, bile disorders and enlarged spleen. The practice can also help you lower blood pressure and deal with hypertension. When you perform this pranayama, you are able to sleep better and deal with insomnia. You can also beat insomnia with these yoga poses.

Nadi Shodhan Pranayama

The nadi shodhan pranayama or alternate nostril breathing brings in equilibrium to the left and right hemispheres of the brain which is associated with the logical and emotional sides of our personality. It is a simple breathing exercise which cleanses the respiratory and circulatory systems. This breathing technique can increase the oxygen-carbon dioxide exchange in the body, thus purifying the blood of stale air and waste. The pranayama also helps maintain body temperature.

Ujjayi Pranayama

The ujjayi pranayama is characterised by deep, slow nasal breaths slowing down the heart rate and calming the mind. The deep, slow breaths can stimulate the limbic and pituitary systems, helping you deal with stress,anxiety,depression and panic disorders. Additionally, ujjayi breaths can diminish pain from headaches and relieve sinusitis. It also helps in strengthening the nervous and digestive systems. Here are some yoga poses that will improve your digestive system.

Anulom Vilom Pranayama

Shri Shri Ravi Shankar, the founder of The Art of Living, describes Anulom Vilom Pranayama as an energy channel that cleanses and purifies your mind and gives you instant stress relief. This breathing technique protects your organs from damage and helps strengthen the nervous system. It keeps your lungs healthy, fights free radicals produced due to stress, helps in proper circulation of oxygenated blood throughout the body and can help relieve a cold by stimulating the inner mucosal lining. The constant and regulated breathing also massages, cleanses and tones the entire nervous system, making you feel much more relaxed.

Bhramari Pranayama

Bhramari prnayama derives its name from the black Indian bee bhramari. The exhalation in this pranayama resembles the typical humming sound of a bee, hence the name bhramari. This breathing technique is a boon for those with hypertension. It is one of the best breathing techniques to instantly calm you and release your mind from frustration, agitation and anxiety. This pranayama can also help you deal with migraine headaches. Regular practice of this breathing technique can help you maintain blood pressure. Furthermore, it will also help improve concentration and memory. Also read foods to boost your memory power.

Suryabhedan Pranayama

In suryabhedan pranayama, the air is drawn into the lungs through the right nostril and exhaled through the left one. This breathing action helps activate all the bodily functions. It combats all the diseases caused by insufficiency of oxygen in the blood. This pranayama cleanses the frontal sinuses and also destroys intestinal worms.

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