1. The bumblebee breathing
The bumblebee breathing (bhramari pranayama) is a playful way to practice when you need to withdrawal your senses from the stimulation of modern life. This withdrawal of the senses is called pratyahara. You can find Pratyahara as fifth limb of Patanjali’s eight limbs of Ashtanga yoga found in the Yoga Sutras. Pratyahara is also the connection from the outer world and the inner world.
Sit in a seated crossleg position and close your eyes. Place your index and middle fingers on your eyes and gently close with your thumbs your ears. Breathe in through your nose and breathe out through your mouth while humming like a bee. There will be a vibration pulsate throughout your entire body as you do this. Inhale again through the nose and exhale, making the buzzing sound of a bee. Repeat as many times as you like.
The Benefits of Bumblebee breathing
Withdrawal of the senses in this modern time. Relaxes and lowers blood pressure, eases headaches, Improves concentration and memory, changes brain waves for days after practice. (Read more about brain waves here)
2. Nadi Shodhan
One of my favorite pracitces in Pranayama is Nadi Shodhan. This one is also referred to as alternate nostril breathing. It is one of the most beloved conscious breathing techniques in yoga. This one works well sitting in a cross-legged position.
Sit in a comforatable meditation posture. We start with breathing through the right nostril. This stimulates your yang, your surya sun power. Breathing through the left nostril activates your Yin, your chandra moon power. Take your right hand and cover your left nostril with your ring finger, then breath out left and cover your right nostril with your thumb. You can place your middle and index finger on your third eye if you like. Now, lay the ring finger on the left nostril while inhaling through your right nostril. Make sure you take a deep and long inhalation, and pause for a moment. Then cover up your right nostril with your thumb and exhale completely through the left nostril. Pause at the bottom of the exhalation. Repeat this pattern for some rounds and as long as you like.
The Benefits of Nadi Shodan
The Benefits of Nadi Shodan are balancing your Yin and Yang, balancing your nervous system. By this breathing exercise, the flow of oxygen on both sides of the brain is increased. Alternative Nostril breathing increases the level of Dharna (Concentration), Dhyana (Mediation), and Samadhi (Enlightenment).
3. Abdominal Breathing
Abdominal breathing is very good for beginners of Pranayama. You can do it anywhere, if you are in a plane, train or in the office. It doesn´t matter. Some people prefere lying down, others like to do it stitting, standing or even while walking. To practice the abdominal breath, also called a complete breath, place your hands on your lower belly and begin to take long, deep breaths into your abdominen. Allow the belly to expand on your inhale and contract on your exhale. You can keep your eyes open or closed as you continue to breath. Do it for some rounds.
Benefits of Abdominal breath
Abdominal breathing lowers your heart rate and the blood pressure, improves your core muscle stability, relaxes and lowers the harmful effects of the stress hormone cortisol on your body.
4. Complete Yogic Breath
Simply count to 4 while you breath in, hold for 4 seconds, exhale and count 4 seconds, then hold for 4 seconds. Repeat this as many times as you want or need.
The Benefits of complete yogic breathing
This technique deeply relaxes the nervous system, you can use it, if you cannot fall asleep or you want to deeply relax your body.