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Purity within, calmness without

Anulom vilom pranayama

Pranayama can be described as the art of playing with the breath to reach the summit of stillness — and stay there. There are hundreds of techniques a practitioner can perform to get to a point where there is no struggle. The beginning, however, is simple breathing. There is a hierarchy of breathing practices, which include combinations of poorak (inhalation), rechak (exhalation) and kumbhak (retention of breath). Stopping of the breath when you are overwhelmed by something beautiful would be called kevala kumbhak, or spontaneous suspension of breathing. To achieve this state is the purpose of pranayama. Inhaling and holding the breath is called antar kumbhak while exhaling and holding the breath is called vahiya kumbhak.

Combining poorak, rechak and kumbhak for different durations and manipulating the breath between the right and the left nostrils make for hundreds of pranayama techniques. They help release knots and tensions accumulated in the body, thus creating a sense of wellbeing in the body and the mind.

Sahaj pranayama

  • Sit in a meditative posture with back straight.
  • Inhale deeply in this position and hold breath.
  • Exhale through mouth with attention at the centre of eyebrows.
  • Repeat 15 times.

Benefits

  • Increases the body temperature and burns calories, thus reducing weight.
  • Reduces anxiety and stress.

Anulom vilom pranayama

  • Sit in a meditative posture.
  • Fold forefinger and middle finger of right hand.
  • Place ring finger in the centre of eyebrows and press thumb on right nostril.
  • Inhale through left nostril.
  • Hold breath.
  • Reverse positions, placing thumb between eyebrows. Press left nostril with ring finger.
  • Exhale through right nostril.
  • Inhale through right nostril; hold breath.
  • Reverse the position of fingers and exhale through left nostril.
  • Repeat this cycle 12 times a day.

Benefits

  • Purifies blood by increasing the supply of oxygen and expelling toxins.
  • Increases concentration and reduces stress.

 

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