All the methods of pranayama are described in the classic scriptural texts and each pranayama has its own importance. However, a practitioner will find it hard to practice all the seven types of pranayama on a daily basis. Therefore we have formulated a sequence and time for all the seven pranayamas with our experience and divine blessings of god and teachers.
This revised process takes around 20 minutes and a practitioner reaps the following benefits with regular practice:
1. Overcomes vata, pitta and kapha problems.
2. Maintains the functioning of the digestive system and cures all the stomach diseases.
3. Relieves the diseases related to the heart, lungs and brain.
4. It is beneficial in cases of obesity, diabetes, high cholesterol, constipation, gastric trouble, acidity, respiratory problems, allergy, migraine, high blood pressure, kidney diseases, sexual diseases in men and women and even fatal diseases like cancer.
5. It can prevent hereditary diseases like diabetes and heart problems.
6. It prevents aging and is beneficial in controlling hair loss, prematurely hair getting grey/white, wrinkled skin, poor eyesight, forgetfulness, etc.
7. The seven-step pranayama process gives a natural glow and shine on the face.
8. It purifies the chakras and arouses their strength, thereby providing spiritual strength and arousal of kundalini.
9. It keeps the mind calm, peaceful and cheerful and overcomes depression.
10. It is helpful in contemplation and also gives the strength to meditate for several hours.
11. It relieves us of all the physical and mental problems along with negative conditions like anger, lust, greed, attachment and ego.
12. It cures all physical problems, removes foreign particles from the body, etc.
13. Negative conditions are replaced with positive ones and the practitioner remains happy and cheerful.
First Process of Pranayama: Bhastrika Pranayama
Sit in any meditative posture and breathe in deeply with both the nostrils and breathe out with full force. This is known as Bhastrika pranayama. This can be done in three ways depending on the capacity, slow, medium or fast. People with weak heart and lungs should do it slowly. A healthy person and old practitioners (experts) should increase the pace gradually. This pranayama should be done for three to five minutes.
Resolution at the time of doing Bhastrika Pranayama:
Breathe in deeply and think in the mind that the divine strength, energy, purity, peace and happiness present in the universe are entering into your mind along with the vital life energy. You are filled with divine strengths.
Special Points for Practicing Bhastrika Pranayama:
1. Patients of high blood pressure and heart disease should not practice this pranayama at a fast pace.
2. Do not fill the air into the stomach and do not expand it. Breath into the diaphragm, the stomach will not expand but the ribs and chest will expand.
3. Practice it for less duration during summers.
4. In case of kapha and sinusitis, people suffer from nose blockage.
Such people should close the right nostril and breathe in through left nostril and then repeat it on the other side. Then they should breathe in and out from both the nostrils.
5. This pranayama should be done up to five minutes regularly.
6. Keep the eyes closed and chant Aum mentally with every breath.
Benefits of Bhastrika Pranayama:
1. It overcomes cold-catarrh, allergy, respiratory diseases, asthma, chronic cold, sinusitis and other kapha related problems. It strengthens the lungs, heart and brain and gives pure oxygen.
2. It cures thyroid problems, tonsil problems and other throat problems.
3. It maintains the equilibrium of all the three doshas and evacuates toxic and foreign substances from the body.
4. It stabilizes the mind and prana, and is helpful in the arousal of kundalini.
Second Process of Pranayama: Kapalbhati Pranayama
Kapal means brain and bhati means glow, shine, brightness, light, etc.
The pranayama which gives a natural glow, brightness and shine to the face is known as Kapalbhati. It is slightly different from the previous one. In case of Bhastrika, breathing in and out are done with equal force and pace, but in this case the breathing out is done with full force and breathing in is done automatically as a reaction to throwing out the air. Breathing out process is done with full concentration. This contracts and expands the stomach and strengthens mooladhara, swadishthana and Manipur chakras. This should be done for at least five minutes.
Resolution at the Time of Doing Kapalbhati Pranayama:
At the time of practicing this pranayama, the practitioner should think that he is throwing out all the problems of the body. Along with the breath the problems are getting relieved. The person should throw out the air with this feeling whatever it might be, doshas, anger, lust, greed, hatred, jealousy, etc. Think that diseases are getting relieved while breathing out to reap full benefit.
Time for Practicing Kapalbhati Pranayama:
It should be done for three to five minutes. Take rest in between whenever you feel tired in the beginning. After one or two months, practice it for five minutes without stopping. This is the complete duration. Initially, the person could suffer from stomach or backache but it will get relieved gradually. The people with pitta nature should do it for two minutes in summers.
Benefits of Practicing Kapalbhati Pranayama:
1. It increases glow, brightness and shine on the face.
2. Overcomes all kapha related diseases like asthma, allergy, sinusitis, etc.
3. It is beneficial in case of heart, lung or cerebral problems.
4. It reduces weight, diabetes, gastric trouble, acidity, kidney and prostrate problems.
5. Constipation is also cured with five minutes of regular practice. Diabetes is controlled without medicine and it also reduces excess fat from the stomach by four to eight kilos within one month. It opens blockages of the heart.
6. The mind becomes stable, calm and cheerful. It removes negative conditions and depression, etc.
7. It purifies the chakras and circulates a divine energy.
8. This pranayama is beneficial for the health of the stomach, pancreas, liver, spleen, intestines, prostate and kidney. This pranayama is sufficient to cure almost all the stomach problems, which even asanas cannot do. It also strengthens weak intestines.
Third Process of Pranayama: Bahya Pranayama (with Tribandha)
1. Sit in padmasana or siddhasana and breathe out completely at one time.
2. Do moolbandha, uddiyana bandha and jalandhara bandha and stop the breath (externally).
3. Remove the bandhas and breathe in slowly.
4. Inhale and without stopping inside, breathe out and repeat the process as mentioned in the previous steps. This can be done three to 21 times depending on the capacity.
Resolution at the time of doing Bahya Pranayama:
Think mentally that all the diseases, doshas, negative energies are going out from the body as you throw out the air. Strong resolution at the time of doing this pranayama relieves all problems and gives instant results.
Benefits of Practicing Bahya Pranayama:
This is a harmless pranayama and overcomes playfulness of the mind. It increases digestive fire and is beneficial in case of stomach problems. It makes the mind sharp and bright. It purifies the body, overcomes seminal problems, night pollution, early ejaculation and other humour related diseases. This pranayama has special strength on all the stomach organs and initially the practitioner could feel some pain in stomach or weakness. Therefore it should be done with all the bandhas.
Fourth Process of Pranayama: Anulom-Vilom Pranayama
Method of closing the nostrils: Close the right nostril with the thumb and (alternately) the left nostril with the little finger and ring finger. The hand should be raised slightly above (it should not be in front of the nose).
The left nostril denotes the moon, strength or calm, therefore this pranayama begins with left nostril.
Close the right nostril with the thumb and inhale from the left nostril. After inhaling close the left nostril with ring finger and little finger and exhale from the right nostril. The pace of inhaling and exhaling should be increased gradually. Breathe in and out with full force and maintain the pace of respiration either slow, medium or fast depending on the physical strength. Fast pace of inhaling and exhaling creates loud sound in breathing. After breathing out completely, close the left nostril and breath in from right nostril. Then close the right nostril and breath in from left nostril. This is one cycle. Repeat it several times. In case of slight tiredness, take rest in between and repeat. Begin the practice from three minutes and increase it up to ten minutes. Regular practice for a few days increases the capacity of the person and the practitioner can do it for five minutes without stopping. Everybody practice it for at least five minutes and maximum ten minutes but not more. During summers it should be done for three to five minutes.
Regular practice for five minutes arouses the energy accumulated in mooladhara chakra and helps in arousal of kundalini. Chant Aum mentally with every breath. This makes the mind suitable for attaining the stage of contemplation.
Resolution at the Time of Doing Anulom-Vilom Pranayama:
Think that sushumna nadi is getting aroused with the friction of right and left nostrils. Imagine that a divine light is moving upwards till sahasrara chakra.
Think that the whole body is enlightened with a divine light. Imagine the presence of divine light inside and outside the body and visualize Aum Kham Brahma.
Think that the divine energy, strength and knowledge are present on all the four sides of the body, that almighty god is filling celestial energy in the body, take in the energy. Guru is the only source of inspiration for getting this energy and guru combines with heavenly feelings.
Anulom-Vilom pranayama done in this manner gives physical, mental and spiritual benefits. Mooladhara chakra arouses a light and arouses kundalini, the divine knowledge will flow upwards and gain tremendous energy.
Benefits of Practicing Anulom-Vilom Pranayama:
1. This pranayama purifies 72 crore 72 lakh ten thousand two hundred and ten nerves. Purification of all the nerves makes the body strong, bright and healthy.
2. It cures joint pain, arthritis, gout, Parkinson's disease, nervous weakness, vata diseases, urinary problems, humour related diseases, seminal loss, acidity, pitta, cold, catarrh, chronic cold, sinusitis, asthma, cough, tonsils and other kapha diseases. It cures tridoshas.
3. It opens heart blockages. Regular practice of this pranayama opens around 30 to 40 percent blockage within three to four months. We have experienced it practically on several patients.
4. It overcomes the irregularities of cholesterol, triglycerides, HDL or LDL, etc.
5. It replaces negative thoughts with positive thoughts. It helps in keeping the mind happy, fearless and enthusiastic.
6. In a nutshell pranayama purifies the mind, body and virtues. It cures all the ailments and the mind becomes capable of contemplation.
7. Repeat this pranayama 250 to 500 times, the energy present in the mooladhara chakra moves upwards and helps in the arousal of kundalini.
Note: See the cautions and methods of arousal of kundalini for further information in this regard.
Fifth Process of Pranayama: Brahmari Pranayama
Inhale completely, press the base of the nostrils with the little fingers, close the ears with your thumbs, keep the index fingers on the forehead, close the eyes and place the ring and middle fingers on the closed eyes. Chant Aum with the mouth closed (only the humming sound) and inhale. The sound resembles the sound of a honeybee, hence the name brahmari pranayama. Repeat it at least three times and maximum up to 21 times.
Resolution at the Time of Doing Brahmari Pranayama:
Imagine the synchronization of celestial power with divine strength.
The practitioner should think that god is showering his empathy, love and happiness on him. He or she should visualize a divine light in the agya chakra and removing all the ignorance present in the mind. The practitioner should feel that he or she is getting eternal wisdom.
Pranayama done with such pure thoughts helps in reaching contemplation.
Benefits of Practicing Brahmari Pranayama:
It overcomes playfulness of the mind and is very beneficial for meditation. It is beneficial in cases of mental stress, anxiety, high blood pressure, heart disease, etc.
Sixth Process of Pranayama: Aumkara (Udgeet Pranayama)
All the above-mentioned pranayamas should be followed by udgeet pranayama. Our eyebrows resemble the shape of Aum. The body and the entire universe are full of Aum. It is not an individual or a shape; it is a divine strength, which is circulating in the whole universe.
As a knower, the practitioner should inhale and exhale so slowly that he or she should not feel the sound of respiration. The breathing should be so gentle that even a piece of cotton kept in front of the nose should not move. Try to feel the respiration from within. In the beginning you will feel it only at the tip of the nose but gradually you will experience it deep within. In this way chanting Aum for some time helps in contemplation of mind. The practitioner will be able to concentrate the mind and get engrossed in Aumkar. Gayatri mantra should also be chanted after understanding its meaning along with Aumkar.
This will help the person in getting engrossed in the true form of god, which gives happiness. This should be practiced at bedtime also in order to enjoy sound sleep. It overcomes bad dreams and gives sound sleep.
Seventh process of Pranayama: Nadi shodhana pranayama
In the beginning, close the right nostril and inhale from left nostril just like Anulom-Vilom pranayama. Stop the breath inside and do moolbandha and jalandhar bandha. Remove jalandhar bandha after sometime and exhale very slowly from the right nostril. Then inhale from right nostril and do kumbhaka, stop the breath inside and exhale very slowly from the left nostril. This is one complete cycle or nadi shodhana pranayama.
It is very beneficial if done with full concentration without pressing the nostrils. It helps in concentrating the mind and gives a lot of stability. There should not be any sound at the time of inhaling and exhaling. It should be done from one to three times or more. In the beginning, the ratio of poorak, antah kumbhaka and rechaka should be 1:2:2. For example, poorak, antah kumbhaka and rechaka should be done for 10, 20 and 20 seconds respectively. Gradually, the ratio can be increased to 1:4:2. Bahya kumbhaka can be added later and then the ratio can be 1:4:2:2. This pranayama should be done at a very slow pace. Focus on pace of respiration and its intensity instead of number of repetitions. This is more beneficial, and inhaling, controlling and exhaling the breath is the actual result of this pranayama.
There is no need to take rest in between. Chanting Aum or gayatri mantra mentally is favourable while doing this.
Benefits of Practicing Nadi Shodana Pranayama:
The advantages are similar to Anulom-Vilom pranayama.