Well, there are 50 types of breathing exercises with minor variations. But I am only discussing the seven most effective Pranayamas or deep breathing which you will keep fit and healthy.
Here are 7 most effective pranayama to keep you healthy and also reduces the stress level.
1. Bhastrika Pranayam
Bhastrika means Bellows. This yoga is all about inhaling and exhaling deeply resembles the blowing of bellows by making hissing sound. In this, our body gets maximum oxygen due to deep inhaling. Regular practice of this pranayama boost our immune, refreshes our mind and body, improves memory and concentration, blood circulation, cures lung problems, migraine, headache, constipation, asthma, heart problems, thyroid, tonsils, strengthens nervous system.
Bhastrika Pranayam is most recommended for Brain disease, Parkinson, Depression, and Paralysis.
How to do
First, sit comfortably on the ground or on a chair. Inhale a deep breath through both nostrils till you feel your lungs are full with air and then breathe out completely through both the nostrils.
Secondly, keep in mind that inhaling and exhaling completely should be done with great force making a hissing sound. Inhalation should be of 2½ seconds and exhalation of 2½ seconds that means 12 times in one minute.
First, it should only practice on an empty stomach.
Second, while breathing in air should be filled in the chest area and not in the stomach
Third, do not overdo practice of this asana in summers.
And the last and the most important is, heart patients and people who have the problem of high blood pressure should practice slowly or under the expert guidance.
Kapalbhati is one of the best deep breathing yoga to lose weight and burn belly fat. Not only effective in weight loss but the regular practice of this pranayama keeps you fit, improve your heart functioning, liver, pancreas, stomach, and kidneys. As per the experts, in this pranayama when we exhale forcefully 80% of the toxins in the body get released.
This deep breathing exercise cures stomach disorder, constipation, indigestion, acidity, lower down a high creatinine level in kidney patient, cure kidney disorder or improves the function of kidneys, strengthens and clears respiratory system, minimize the risks of infections and allergies in our respiratory system, strengthens immune system, brings flexibility in the diaphragm and make it strong, reduce the risk of developing hernias, improves blood circulation, cures breast cancer, energizes the nervous system, calms the mind and reduces stress, tension.
And as its name says that is “Kapal” means “Forehead” and “Bhati” means “Shining”, this pranayama brings glow on your forehead which is the sign of healthy body.
How to do
First, sit straight with the erect spine on the ground or you can sit straight on the chair if it is not possible to sit on the ground. And take a deep breath.
Then exhale forcefully and quickly with the nose. And when you breathe out make sure your stomach must go deep inside as much as you can and while inhaling or breathing in it should rise.
Exhaling and Inhaling should be done in a quick way.
Concentrate on exhaling and not on inhaling as it happens naturally.
Perform 2-3 sets in the morning on an empty stomach and to complete set take 10 to 15 breaths. After completing first set one set take rest and then start another set.
People suffering from spinal disorders, cardiac problem and Hernia should not practice Kapalbhati.
Those who have high blood pressure, stroke and heart problems should practice under the expert guidance or perform slowly means for 1 exhalation in 2 to 3 seconds. If anyone has respiratory system disorder they first need to consult a doctor before practicing.
Women should not practice Kapalbhati during and after pregnancy as well as during menstruation or periods
3. Anulom Vilom
Anulom Vilom is one of the most effective breathing exercise to release stress, depression, tension, and anxiety. And this pranayama helps to purify our mind, body, soul and cure most of the internal conditions of the body.
Regular practice of Anulom Vilon reduces the risk of heart attack and cures heart problems, removes artery blockages of the heart completely without medicines, keeps diabetes under control. Also, this balances your three doshas Vata (air, the wind), Pitta (Bile) and Kapha (Phlegm)
How to do
Sit straight on the ground or on the chair.
Start by closing your right nostril with thumb and breathe in or inhale deeply from left nostril. Now close your left nostril and breathe out or exhale from right nostril. Then breathe in with right nostril and exhale from left nostril with the closing right nostril.
Continue breathing like this for 5 minutes.
Always take care while inhaling or breathe in, that air should go into the lungs and not into the stomach.
Pranayama should be done on an empty stomach.
Do it slowly and breathe in such a way that air should go into the lungs and not into the stomach.
Never practice immediately after having your food. And keep a gap of 4 hours between your food and pranayama practice.
Practice this pranayama in the fresh air.
Do not overdo, this may cause fatigue.
This pranayama is good for pregnant women, but should not overstrain.
4. Bahya Pranayam
Bahya Pranayama is also known as external retention. This pranayama is beneficial for a hernia, diabetes, acidity, gastric problems, reproductive organs, sperm problems etc.
How to do
First, sit in Padmasana or Sukhasana with the erect spine. Now inhale deeply and when you exhale try to touch your chin to chest.
While breathing out squeeze your stomach and pull it upward. Hold this position and your breath for 10-15 seconds. After this, inhale and release chin.
Keep in mind when you inhale your head should be upward and while exhaling head should be in a downward position.
Repeat this cycle for 2-5 minutes. After practice, you can increase the duration.
This pranayama should not be practiced for those who are suffering from hypertension, heart problem.
And this pranayama should not be practiced by the women during the periods.
5. Bhramari Pranayama
Bhramari pranayama is one of the best breathing exercise for calming mind or releasing anger instantly, reduces stress, tension, and depression, destroys negative energy and gives positive energy, calms mind and body, releases frustration and anger instantly, controls high blood pressure, cures heart blockages, helps to cure sinus problem, improves concentration.
How to do
First, close your ears with your thumb and place your index finger above the eyebrows and place your remaining three fingers on the eyes.
Now take a deep breath and make a humming sound like a bee,“hummm” or try to say “Om” in soft humming sound while exhaling.
Keep in mind your mouth should be closed while exhaling or inhaling
Concentrate on the center of the eyebrows and make feel your body is experiencing positive energy and inner joy.
In beginning practice this pranayama for 2 – 3 minutes. After practice you can increase the duration.
Heart patient should practice this pranayama slowly and should not hold their breath for a long time.
People suffering from a migraine or head tumors should not practice bhramari pranayama.
And always consult a doctor if you are suffering from any serious health problems.
6. Udgeeth Pranayama
This breathing exercise is known as a chanting of “Om” with every exhalation. Udgeeth is a Sanskrit word which means singing loudly. In this pranayama first, we inhale deeply and release breath by chanting “Om” in a loud pitch.
This pranayama is good for insomnia patient to cure the sleep disorder, relieve bad dreams, releases tension, stress, and anger, brings stability and calms the mind, reduces high blood pressure or hypertension, improves memory power and cures problems related nervous system.
How to do
Sit straight in sukhasana or padmasana with an erect spine. Now start with inhaling deeply through both the nostrils till your diaphragm is full with air. Remember, fill your lungs and not stomach with air.
And while exhale slowly with chanting the word “Om”.
While breathing in and out mouth should be closed.
Practice this cycle for 5 minutes.
7. Pranav Pranayama
This pranayama is a type of meditation which is also important breathing exercise to experience mental and spiritual energy. In Pranav pranayama, you just have to concentrate on your inhaling and exhaling.
How to do
Sit quiet, close your eyes and start breathing normally and concentrate your mind on your inhaling and exhaling.
Do not think about anything just think about God and feel the presence of God everywhere in each particle. Practice this breathing exercise for 4-5 minutes.
Always keep in mind that inhaling or exhaling should be so subtle that you do not feel like hearing breathing sound.
Inhaling and exhaling should be deep that means one inhale in 5-15 seconds and exhale also in 5-15 seconds.