Each stage of pranayama increases awareness and facilitates introspection.
Below is a description of some of the pranayama exercises we practice and the benefits.
Anuloma-viloma or alternate nostril breathing, is the first breathing technique taught in Hatha Yoga. Regular practice illuminates the face, rejuvenates the nervous system, floods the brain with oxygen and blood, and flushes out toxins from the blood and cells of the body. It fills the body with strength, vigor and vitality. Anuloma-viloma is a nadi shodana, meaning it cleanses the nadi or the pranic pathways. It floods the body with prana and prepares the body for spiritual advancement. It energizes and balances both the right and left sides of the brain and enhances cognitive functions and logical thinking.
Antar-Bahya Kumbhaka, or the internal and external retention on breath. In this practice, in-going and out-going breath retention is controlled. It is a very powerful pranayama technique that purifies the physical, subtle and the causal bodies. During this breathing cycle, no strain should be felt.
Kapalabhati, or the skull-shining breath. Kapalabhati consists of short rapid, forceful exhalations. It is a very powerful pranayama technique that expels negative energy, pain, fear, misery, grief or stress, and purifies the physical, subtle and causal bodies. It promotes healthy circulation, digestion, metabolism, and excretory functions. It floods the body with prana or the life force, strengthens will power, and enhances the power of discretion. Regular practice of this pranayama causes the aura of a person to shine brilliantly.
Bhastrika, or the bellows breath is an intensely stimulating pranayama. It rejuvenates the entire body, giving it new life. It increases supply of blood to the brain and improves memory. It improves eyesight, hearing, and gives clarity of speech. It recharges the respiratory system, stimulates digestion, and enhances metabolism.
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