Pranayama, is a type of yoga which helps regulate your breathing, lung capacity, and body’s energies. In Sanskrit ‘prana’ means ‘energy or life force’ (primarily having to do with the breath of life) and ‘yama’ means ‘restrain or control’. Pranayama is made up of breathing exercises and techniques which help rebalance the body and especially help restore order to one’s lungs from respiration troubles such as sinusitis.
1. Kapalabhati Or ‘Head Shining’
A breathing exercise which helps cleanse the frontal brain, optimize cognitive functions, and refresh the mind to a better state. Practicing it before other yoga exercises enables a better flow of oxygen and carbon dioxide in your body.
First sit with your legs folded on the floor.
Take a deep breath in and then exhale with force, all the while contracting your abdominal muscles.
After this take a quick but easy breath in but exhale forcefully.
Start by doing this for 2 to 3 minutes and once you’re used to it, do it for 10 minutes.
Known aptly as ‘head shining’, practicing this can better your memory.
Proven to ease many respiratory problems, such as ejecting mucus from your respiratory channels, acting as an instant relief from sinusitis, removing any blockages in respiration, reducing effects from colds, and stopping incessant coughing.
When done for over 10 minutes, it can promote weight loss in the abdominal area.
It massages your abdominal organs, which also help relieve you of digestive issues and improve your lung capacity.
In Kapalabhati, your inhalation needs to be calm but quick, while exhalation needs to be forceful. When doing this, make sure you do not move your shoulders and your face is calm and relaxed.
Those with hyperacidity, high blood pressure, heart conditions and history of strokes, hernia, vertigo, dizziness, and epilepsy, are advised not to perform this yoga.
2. Anulom Vilom Or ‘Flowing As Or With The Grain Naturally’
Allows free flow of energy in your mind and body by removing built up toxins and any mucus congestion.
For this breathing technique, you can sit in any comfortable position, making sure to keep your back and neck erect. Close your eyes when performing this breathing exercise.
Place your right thumb on your right nostril, as you slowly take a breath in through the left nostril. Next close your left nostril and slowly breathe out through your right nostril.
Now do the same thing but close your left nostril instead and inhale through the right nostril, followed by closing the right nostril and exhaling through the left nostril slowly.
This would count as one cycle, so do about 10 cycles and then increase the number in time.
This technique removes any blocks in your energy channels and stops nasal congestion.
It also makes sure that there is adequate blood flow to the brain, boosts your immune system, and makes sure your whole body gets a steady supply of oxygen.
Being such a block-freeing exercise, it naturally stimulates the calming centers of your brain and is an amazing stress buster.
It’s a one-of-a-kind Pranayama that effectively prevents diseases and disorders.
Make sure you don’t start your breathing exercises with this technique, but make it come after something or close to the end.
3. Suryabhedi Pranayama Or ‘Sun Piercer
In an almost literal sense, this breathing practice helps pierce through those germs, worms, and bacteria in your sinus regions.
Begin by sitting in whatever comfortable position you’d like.
Next, close your left nostril with your ring and little fingers, inhale slowly through the right nostril and make a sound while doing so.
Then hold your breath for as long as you can and slowly exhale from your left nostril.
This makes up one round, but do at least 5 rounds of this.
It gives instant relief for sinusitis, and smoothens out the functions of the sinuses.
It is also said to help increase blood pressure for those who suffer from low blood pressure as it activates that part of their brains.
It also kills intestinal parasites.
It’s one stunning breathing exercise to slow down aging effects in the body’s cells too.
It should not be done by people with high blood pressure.
4. Ustrasana Or ‘Camel Pose’
Is a middle-level back-bending yoga exercise which makes your body flexible, strong, and also loosens up your chest area.
Start by kneeling on the floor, and keeping your legs a foot apart.
As you inhale, slowly bend backwards so you can put your right palm on your right heel and left palm on your left heel.
Hold this pose for 30 seconds but keep inhaling and exhaling calmly.
Return to your original position with a deep exhalation.
This yoga pose does wonders for treating issues in your head and nasal area, including boosting eye-sight.
It can also reduce belly fat, neck, and back pain.
Those with high blood pressure, heart problems, and hernia should not do this.
5. Bhastrika Or ‘Bellowing Breath’
This breathing method helps relieve you of colds and nasal congestions of any sort. While performing this Pranayama, you may let out a hissing sound in your nostrils because of its powerful intensity.
Sit cross-legged on the floor and start with some normal inhaling and exhaling.
Once you have set that breathing pace, take a forced breath in and exhale with an equally bellowing breath. Follow this up with a deep breath in, hold your breath for a few seconds, and then exhale slowly.
Close the cycle by relaxing, breathing normally, and then do the whole cycle again.
Do this process about 10 times.
This breathing method gives you quick sinus and throat inflammation relief, cleans your nasal cavity from phlegm, and can even keep asthma attacks to a minimum.
It has also shown positive results in managing weight, burning belly fat, reducing gastric issues like heart burn, and increasing appetite.
This is one pranayama that should be done either in the morning or in the evening.
People with high blood pressure, stomach ulcers, and heart disease should not do it.
This can be the last or closing breathing technique you do because it tends to overheat the body.
6. Bhujangasana Or ‘Cobra Pose’
Usually conducted in the last stages of your day’s yoga practice, it is the pose which looks like a cobra that’s about to attack and is raising its hood. An essential back bending yoga asana, it packs a ton of benefits for your neck and abdominal regions.
First, lie down flat on your stomach and keep your legs apart.
Next, fold your hands at the elbows and bring your palms at the level of your shoulders.
As you inhale, raise your head and upper body upwards till your head is face-to-face with the roof, then exhale.
Hold this pose for about 20 seconds and then inhale and exhale slowly.
Come back to your original position by with a deep exhalation.
This completes one cycle, but do try doing 7 cycles of this.
Besides improving the functions of your lungs and sinus regions, it also helps shed belly fat, relieves back aches, and has shown positive results by those who have thyroid issues, cervical spondylitis, and gynecological problems.
Those who have abdominal injuries or hernia should avoid this.