Pranayama is the practice of breath regulation. It’s a main component of yoga, an exercise for physical and mental wellness. In Sanskrit, “prana” means life energy and “yama” means control.

The practice of pranayama involves breathing exercises and patterns. You purposely inhale, exhale, and hold your breath in a specific sequence.

In yoga, pranayama is used with other practices like physical postures (asanas) and meditation (dhyana). Together, these practices are responsible for the many benefits of yoga.

But pranayama has benefits of its own. These advantages are due to the therapeutic effects of breathing exercises and mindfulness.

What exactly is pranayama?

Pranayama is the ancient practice of controlling your breath. You control the timing, duration, and frequency of every breath and hold.

The goal of pranayama is to connect your body and mind. It also supplies your body with oxygen while removing toxins. This is meant to provide healing physiological benefits.

Pranayama involves different breathing techniques.

Examples include:

  • alternate nostril breathing (nadishodhana)
  • victorious breath (ujjayi)
  • female honeybee humming breath (bhramari)
  • bellows breath (bastrika)

These breathing exercises can be practiced in many ways. For instance, you can do them while performing yoga poses. You can also practice them while meditating or on their own.

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