Pranayama: Yoga Breathing

Pranayamas are breathing exercises developed by the ancient yogis for purification. Prana translates into “life force energy” and Yama translates into “control or mastery of.” Thus, Pranyama is used to control, cultivate, and modify the Prana in the body. Prana is taken in through the air we breathe, and since the pranayama exercises increase the amount of air we take in, they also increase our intake of Prana.

For most pranayamas, the breath is slow and steady, breathed in and out of the nose and down into the belly. Always sit with a straight spine and a relaxed body. While you are practicing Pranayama, let go of any thoughts by focusing on the type of breathing involved with the pranayama.


Audio: Intro to Pranayama

Use the player below to stream a low-fi instructional audio track for this practice:

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Dirga Pranayama

The 3 part breath or complete breath is nourishing, calming and relaxing.View All Sponsors ➞Yoga OutletLow price guarantee on brand-name yoga clothes, mats and yoga gear.Yogi WearComfortable, stylish and beautiful… Read More→

Ujjayi Pranayama

pranayama yoga breathing

The victory or ocean sounding breath is focusing, grounding, and aids in concentration.View All Sponsors ➞Yogi WearComfortable, stylish and beautiful yoga clothing made in America.Yoga Books on SaleTeacher training grade… Read More→

Nadi Sodhana Pranayama

alternate nostril pranayama yoga breath

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Kapalabhati Pranayama

yoga breathing pranayama

The breath of fire or the skull shining breath is invigorating, energizing, and purifying.View All Sponsors ➞Yoga OutletLow price guarantee on brand-name yoga clothes, mats and yoga gear.Yogi WearComfortable, stylish… Read More→

Bhramari Pranayama

The bee breath soothes the nerves and calms the mind.View All Sponsors ➞Yoga Burn ChallengeTake The Yoga Burn Booty Challenge Today!Hanuman FestivalYoga + Music + Boulder, CO. June 14-17. Prices… Read More→

Sit Cari Pranayama

The hissing breath cools the body and calms the mind.View All Sponsors ➞YogaDirectBuy one get one free and other great deals on yoga mats & equipmentYoga OutletLow price guarantee on… Read More→

Shitali Pranayama

The cooling breath cools the body and calms the mind.View All Sponsors ➞Hanuman FestivalYoga + Music + Boulder, CO. June 14-17. Prices increase 3/1.Yoga Burn ChallengeTake The Yoga Burn Booty… Read More→

Bhastrika Pranayama

The bellows breath is warming, energizing, and purifying.View All Sponsors ➞YogaDirectBuy one get one free and other great deals on yoga mats & equipmentYoga InternationalPractice yoga anytime, anywhere. Available on… Read More→

New to Yoga?

To get the most out of our site, we suggest you take some time to explore before jumping into the practice. Browse our yoga 101 section for general info on the history and types of yoga, then start exploring asanas the physical postures used in hatha yoga. Remember to breathe and always start your yoga practice with a brief meditation. If you are new to yoga, please read our Yoga for Beginner's page

Yogic Wisdom

When the breath wanders the mind also is unsteady. But when the breath is calmed the mind too will be still, and the yogi achieves long life. Therefore, one should learn to control the breath.
- Hatha Yoga Pradipika

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