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Breathing - Pranayama

Applying the body locks properly will help you clear blockages that impede the open flow of energy through your physical body, Chakras, and subtle bodies. Locks go with breathing, there are separate pages and below here is a list, One Minute Breath, Sitali Pranayama Praanayam, Alternate Nostril Breathing, Cannon breath, Whistling Breath.

Note: Before starting a Class, Mantra, or Kriya Tune In!

Ong Namo Guru Dev Namo, Ong Namo Guru Dev Namo, Ong Namo Guru Dev Namo,

Locks

Bandhs - Locks
. THE BANDHS - LOCKS:
  • Mul (Mool) Bandh or Root Lock
  • Uddiyana Bandh or Navel Lock
  • Jalandhar Bandh or Neck Lock
"Left nostril breathing gives you self-endurance, self effectiveness and self respect. Right nostril breathing  gives you projection, sacrifice, power to attach, power  to penetrate and power to exert. That is why God has given you both nostrils." -- Yogi Bhajan

Long Deep Breathing, Breath of Fire,

Heart Breath


Long Deep Breathing can relax and calm you, re-tune and reset your brain so that correct decisions will flow automatically in a crisis situation, regulate the body's pH, reduce and prevent toxic buildup, cleanse the blood, and give capacity to control your negativity and emotions.

Breath of Fire (BOF) releases toxins and deposits from the lungs, mucous linings, blood vessel and other cells. It expands the lung capacity and increases vital strength.

Heart Breath Heart Breath can change any situation that you might be in. And it is a wonderful healing method.

One Minute, Sitali, Alternate Nostril,

Right Nostril, Cannon, Whistling, Left Nostril

One Minute Breath

Practice Long Deep Breathing or another breathing technique to prepare the body and mind for One Minute Breath.

Description:
  • Maintain a straight spine, with the chin in, and the chest lifted up and out.
  • Inhale for 20 seconds
  • suspend/hold the breath for 20 seconds
  • exhale for 20 seconds
  • Don't hold or suspend the breath after the exhale. Begin inhaling again after completing the exhalation.
  • Breath slowly and deeply,
  • drawing air first into your lower, then middle, and
  • finally upper lungs so that the entire lung is participating.
  • Eyes:Closed
  • End on an exhale and resume regular, natural breathing

Take your time with this pranayama, building your way slowly to the full 20 second inhale/hold/exhale cycle. If you cannot do 20 seconds, then do 10 or even 5 seconds. Just be sure to keep the breath even, and inhale/hold/exhale for the same amount of time. Example: Inhale 5 seconds, hold 5 seconds, exhale 5 seconds.

Work your way up to 31 minutes slowly, starting with 3 minutes and moving up from there. If needed, intersperse periods of Long Deep Breathing with One Minute Breath.

Benefits:
Yogi Bhajan taught that breathing at the rate of one breath per minute develops cooperation between the hemispheres of the brain, brings the mind under control of the yogi, and builds intuition.

One Minute Breath calms the mind of worries, and Yogi Bhajan also said that if practiced for 31 minutes a day a person can control all of the cells in their body, and if practiced for 62 minutes a day a person will have wisdom and stability.

Sitali Pranayama


Description:
  • Maintain a straight spine, sitting in Easy Pose or a chair
  • .
  • Keep your head level, not tipped up or down.
  • Open the mouth and form an "O" shape with the lips. It may help to slightly pucker the lips.
  • Extend the tip of the tongue past the lips, and curl the tongue lengthwise into a straw shape. (if you can't make the straw shape, that is ok)
  • Inhale slowly and deeply through the rolled tongue, filling the lungs completely (as in Long Deep Breathing).
  • Exhale slowly and fully through the nostrils.
  • Eyes: Closed.
  • If practicing Sitali Praanayam as part of Kundalini Yoga, the eyes should be closed and rolled up towards the third eye point between the eyebrows.
  • Time: None specified, unless doing a particular meditation.
  • End: Exhale through the nostrils, and then resume normal breathing through the nose.

Benefits:
Sitali Pranayama is cooling, and benefits the kidneys and adrenals.
Yogi Bhajan taught that Sitali Pranayama can be used to reduce fevers and to aid digestion, and cleanse the spleen and liver.

Notes: The tongue can be pulled back into the mouth and the lips closed after each inhalation.

Do the breath slowly and calmly, so that the passage of air through the tongue and nostrils makes no noise. Yogi Bhajan said that there should be no whistling sound, and the breath is so calm and slow that dogs are unable to smell it.

Initially there may be a bitter taste on the tongue, but in time the bitterness will diminish and shift to a sweet taste. When the taste becomes sweet, Yoga Bhajan said that all internal sickness has been overcome.

As with any breathing practice, if you become dizzy or lightheaded stop the pranayama and resume natural breathing.
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Alternate Nostril Breathing

Description:
  • Sit with a straight spine, in Easy Pose or in a chair.
  • Hold the left hand in Gyan mudra,(thumb and index finger tips touching)
  • Exhale fully and then close the right nostril using the thumb of the right hand (thumb if holding nostril closed, other fingers are pointing straight up)
  • Inhale through the left nostril, and then close the left nostril using either the index or ring finger of the right hand.
  • Open the right nostril and exhale.
  • Inhale through the right nostril, then close the right nostril using the thumb of the right hand.
  • Open the left nostril and exhale.
  • This is one cycle of alternate nostril breathing.
  • Eyes: Closed
  • Time: If not being used as part of a structured meditation, continue as long as is comfortable. (26 times is what most of us do as that is enough to change our thinking)
  • End: on an exhale, then resume regular, comfortable breathing.

Benefits:

The left nostril is associated with the ida naadi, and breathing through the left nostril is taught to be calming, cooling, relaxing and associated with lunar energy.

The right nostril is associated with the pingala naadi, and breathing through the right nostril is taught to be energizing, warming, projective, and associated with solar energy. (see below)

Actively switching nostrils engages both hemispheres of the brain, and is taught to affect the glandular system and mood.

1: Revitalizes you:

A few rounds of alternate nostril breathing is a quick pick me up if you are feeling flat, tired or even stressed. It provides your body with a much needed dose of extra energy.

2: Improves brain function:

Alternate nostril breathing brings equal amounts of oxygen to both sides of the brain for improved brain function.  Five minutes of alternate nostril breathing before an exam or interview is a great way to access your whole brain for improved performance.

3: Cleanses your lungs:

A daily five minute practice morning and night of alternate nostril breathing is great way to remove stale air and impurities from the bottom of your lungs.

70% of our body's waste products are eliminated via our lungs.

4: Calms an agitated mind:

I'm prone to worrying.  A few minutes of focused alternate nostril breathing is helpful (for me) in calming my  "over thinking" mind.   The ancient yogis believe that if you can regulate your breath, then you can control your mind.

5: Merges the left "thinking" brain and right "feeling brain:

Alternate nostril breathing optimizes both sides of your brain so you can access your whole brain, and all the benefits that go with it.

The flip side of course is, single nostril breathing can be used to activate, just the left"thinking" or just right "feeling" side of your brain for specific situations.

Try it out next time you need to drive your car.  Cover your left nostril with your thumb and breathe only through your right nostril for one minute.  This should keep you more alert when driving.

6: Encourage a calmer emotional state:

In times of emotional distress and upset, a few rounds of mindful nostril breathing will soften the intensity of over reactive emotional states.  The longer you practice, the more stable your thinking, and the calmer your emotions will become.

7: Improves sleep:

If you can't sleep at night lay on your right hand side, gently close your right nostril with your right thumb and breath through your left nostril.  This will activate your parasympathetic nervous system which will calm you down and slow your heart rate.

8: Great preparation for meditation:

Alternate nostril breathing is a simple little trick that can be practiced for a few minutes before you begin your meditation practice.  It's a very easy way to help you find your meditation groove.

9: Soothes your nervous system:

By focusing on your breath and deepening it, your brain will register this message and trigger the parasympathetic nervous system.  You have effectively switched your nervous system from a stressed response, into a relaxation response.   Single left nostril breathing (by closing your right nostril) will direct the flow of oxygen and energy to the right hemisphere of your brain, allowing once again, for the parasympathetic nervous system to be switched on.  Gosh, your breath and nose is very clever.

10: Regulates  the cooling and warming cycles of the body:

Left nostril is feminine, nurturing, calm and cooling.  Right nostril is masculine, heat, competitive and force.  Favouring one nostril more than the other can effect the heat or coolness of your body.

11: Clears and boosts your energy channels:

Slightly forced alternate nostril breathing improves and directs the flow of energy throughout your body – preventing sluggishness.  It oxygenates your blood and allows the energy (prana) in your body to be strong and flowing.

12: Enhances rest and relaxation:

A restless mind cannot relax.  Alternate nostril breathing melts away an imbalances between the right and left hemisphere of your brain and calms your thinking.  This is perfect for helping you access rest and relaxation far more efficiently.
 

Notes:

Another interesting fact about your nostrils, is that you don't breathe through them equally all the time.  Right now, you will be favouring either your left nostril or your right nostril.

Left nostril for calming – right nostril for energy:

Your nose is directly linked to your brain and nervous system. The Indian yogis believe that many diseases can be linked to disturbed nasal breathing which, I'm guessing, is why they perfected pranayama breathing thousands of year ago.

Breathing in, only through your left nostril, will access the right "feeling" hemisphere of your brain, and breathing in, only through your right nostril, will access the left "thinking" hemisphere of your brain.  Consciously alternating your breath between either nostril will  allow you to activate and access your whole brain.

Alternate nostril breathing is used in multiple styles of yoga, such as Kundalini yoga.

Don't practice this pranayama if you are experience sinus headaches, nasal congestion or other sinus related issues. Instead practice a more gentle pranayama such as Long Deep Breathing, or rest in savasana.

NOTE:

Right Nostril Breathing

Need more energy? Here it is.

When you need to wake up, when you need clarity and focus and more energy, try right nostril (Pingala) breathing.

Simply take your right hand and, with your fingers outstretched, block off your left nostril by putting gentle pressure on it with your right index finger. Be sure to keep the rest of your fingers straight and pointing up towards the sky; the fingers act like antennas for the "cosmic" energy that surrounds us all. (Alternately, if sticking your fingers up in front of all your friends might not be the most appropriate thing to do, use any finger to block off the side of the nose)

With a long, slow, deep breath, gently inhale through your right nostril. Then, just as gently, exhale long, slowly and completely, again through the right nostril. Relax your body and feel the energy smoothly and gracefully building in your body, bringing new life into your body.

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Cannon breath

Description:

  • Powerfully exhale from the navel point through the mouth only.
  • The mouth should be opened in an "O" shape, and the tongue relaxed.
  • Keep the cheeks firm, do not let them bulge.
  • Eyes: Closed
  • Time: None specified.

Benefits:

Exhaling using Cannon breath removes anything from your being that is not necessary.

Cannon Breath is often done in conjunction with various pranayama and meditation practices in Kundalini Yoga.

Note: Nirvair Singh of SD, CA, gave me this 'mudra' to cure Acid Reflux. He said to do it for 11 minutes. I have even done it the midst of an attack and it works. Inhale 4 sniffs, exhale 4 Cannon Breaths, powerfully exhale from the navel point through the mouth only. The breath is exhaled as quickly and powerfully as possible. Sat Avtar Kaur, November 2011

Whistling Breath

Description:
  • Sit with a straight spine in Easy Pose or a chair.
  • To whistle on an inhale, pucker the lips and inhale through the mouth, making a high-pitched whistling sound. Focus on the sound of the whistle.
  • Exhale through the nose
  • To whistle on an exhale, first inhale through the nose and then exhale through the puckered mouth, making a high-pitched whistling sound.
  • Focus the ears on the whistling sound.
  • To whistle on both the inhale and exhale, pucker the lips and inhale through the mouth making a high-pitched whistling sound and then exhale through puckered lips making a high-pitched whistling sound.
  • Focus the ears on the whistle.
  • Eyes: Closed and rolled up to the third eye point between the eyebrows unless otherwise specified.
  • Time: None, unless used in a specific meditation.
  • End: None specified, unless used in a specific meditation.

Benefits:
Yogi Bhajan taught that whistling stimulates the vagus nerve through the action of the lips. The vagus nerve participates in speech, breathing, digestion, and other bodily fuctions. He also said that Whistle Breath affects the glandular system, and if practiced at least three minutes a day can bring relaxation.

Note: As with any pranayama, if you become dizzy or lightheaded, stop the pranayama and resume normal breathing.

Left Nostril Breathing

The Ida energy, on the left, is the moon energy:  reflective, calming, cooling, female.  The right is Pingala and has the energy of the sun:  bright, fiery, awakening and male.

We compare these systems in our Western terminology as the sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous systems.   The sympathetic system, Pingala, is the fight or flight system and charges you up in times of danger.  The parasympathetic system, Ida, slows you down and helps your body automatically run its day to day jobs of digestion, elimination, sleep cycles and more.

When you need to calm down, when your mind is racing faster than a hurricane, or when you can't go to sleep, try left nostril (Ida) breathing.  Simply take your right hand and, with your fingers outstretched, block off your right nostril by putting gentle pressure on it with your right thumb.  Be sure to keep the rest of your fingers straight and pointing up towards the sky; the fingers act like antennas for the "cosmic" energy that surrounds us all.  (Alternately, if sticking your fingers up in front of all your friends might not be the most appropriate thing to do, use any finger to block off the side of the nose)

With a long, slow, deep breath, gently inhale through your left nostril.  Then, just as gently, exhale long, slowly and completely, again through the left nostril.  Relax your body as you feel the relaxing, cooling breath bringing new life into your body.  Relax even deeper with each exhale as you breathe out all tension, all stress and all disease.

Here's an alternative rhythm you can use for left nostril breathing.    Try breathing in through the left nostril as described using different "counts".  Inhale for 4 beats, hold the breath for 4 beats, and exhale for 4 beats

Benefits:

The benefits of left nostril breathing are numerous including sharper, clearer focus of the mind, and a deep, full relaxation or sleep.  It is said in the Yogic tradition, as taught by Yogi Bhajan, that if a person breathes through the left nostril for 31 minutes a day for 90 days (the time it takes to plant a new habit into the subconscious) they will naturally change their metabolism in favor of relaxation and weight loss. A good starting time is 3 minutes.  

Source
Realted Pages:
  • Site Map - All Pages
  • Heart Breath
  • Long Deep Breathing
  • Breath of Fire (BOF)
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