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Pranayama Practices

In the chart below, I am providing a list of some of the pranayama practices that are covered in the Pranamaya/Meditation intensive programs that I offer from time to time. I cover most of these techniques in the regular level 1 and level 2 classes as well as in the 21-day yoga challenge program.

Pranayama Chart
Name in Sanskrit Name in English Notes
Ujjayi (उज्जायी) Ujjayi breathing Deep breathing while constricting the epiglottis to make a hissing or ocean wave-like sound
Vibhagiya (विभागीय) pranayama Deep sectional breathing Deep breathing into the three areas of lungs - upper (clavical), middle (thoracic) and lower (diaphragmatic)
Deergha shvasam (दीर्घश्वासं) Deep breaths 3-part breathing; engaging all parts of the lungs in a single breath
Kapalabhati (कपालभाति) Kapalabhati (Breath of fire) Short, forced and brisk expulsions of air while pulling the belly in simultaneously
Bhastrika (भस्त्रिका) Bellows Breath Both inhalation and exhalation are short, forced and brisk; no movement of the abdomen
Nadi Sanchalana (नाडी सन्चालन) Rapid Breathing Breathing at a rate of approximately 100 breaths per minute, one nostril at a time, then through both nostrils
Bhramari (भ्रामरी Humming bee breath Symbolically closing all faculties, then deep exhalations using a humming sound
Naadi Shuddhi (नाडी शुद्धि) Alternate nostril breathing Slow, deep, soft (soundless) breathing through alternate nostrils - ratio of 1:2 between inhale/exhale durations
Sheetali (शीतली) Cooling breath 1 Making a tube with the tongue by pulling the tongue out; use this tube to inhale, exhale through the nose
Seetkari (सीत्कारी) Cooling breath 2 Opening the lips, closing the teeth and using the gap between the teeth for inhalation; exhalation through the nose
Udgita (उद्गीत) pranayama OM chanting pranayama Chanting OM repeatedly, paying attention to your own breath and the OM sound while exhaling
Kumbhaka (कुम्भक) - antar-kumbhaka and bahya-kumbhaka Breath retention - internal/external Internal retention (after inhalation) and external retention (after exhalation)
Bandha (बन्ध) - Jalandhara (जालन्धर), Uddiyana (उड्डियान), Mulabandha (मूलबन्ध) Bandhas Three types: Jalandhara (chin lock), uddiyana (navel lock), and mulabandha (root lock); Apply Uddiyana only after exhalation, other two both after inhalation and exhalation
Mahabandha (महाबन्ध) Great Lock Applying all three locks simultaneously
Sama-vritti (समवृत्ति) Equal rotation Making all four - inhalation, retention after inhalation, exhalation and retention after exhalation - identical in duration
Viloma (विलोम) pranayama Interrupted Breathing Deep inhalations and exhalations - interrupting each for two seconds (breath retention), every two seconds
Ujjayi (उज्जायी) pranayama Ujjayi pranayama Deep inhalations using Ujjayi breathing, retaining the breath for a comfortable duration, then exhale through the left nostril
Kumbhaka and Bandha practice Practicing the locks and breath retention Apply breath retention and the locks, as appropriate, in the following pranayamas: Alternate nostril breathing, Sheetali, Seetkari, equal rotation,
Khechari (खेचरी) mudra Khechari Mudra Deep breathing while rolling the tongue upward with the back of the tongue touching the upper palate. Apply kumbhaka and bandhas, as appropriate
Agni-sara (अग्निसार) Agni Saara Standing with the feet about a foot apart, knees bent and hands on the knees - exhale completely and using the core muscles flap the muscles of the abdomen at a fairly rapid rate