top of page


Pranayama, the practice of yogic breath control, can be used as a standalone practice or integrated into a broader yoga practice, often complementing physical postures (asana) and meditation. It offers a wide range of physical, mental, and emotional benefits and can be helpful for various conditions.


Pranayama can be beneficial for conditions such as:


Stress and Anxiety: Pranayama techniques help activate the parasympathetic nervous system, promoting relaxation and reducing the body's stress response.


Depression: Deep breathing exercises in pranayama can elevate mood and improve overall emotional well-being.


Sleep Disorders: Practising pranayama before bedtime can help calm the mind and improve sleep quality for individuals with insomnia or sleep disturbances.


Respiratory Conditions: Pranayama can enhance lung capacity, making it beneficial for individuals with asthma, bronchitis, or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).


Cardiovascular Health: Breath control techniques in pranayama can support heart health by reducing blood pressure and improving circulation.


Digestive Disorders: Certain pranayama practices can stimulate digestion and help alleviate symptoms of gastrointestinal discomfort.


Pain Management: Pranayama can be used as part of a pain management strategy for individuals with chronic pain conditions, such as fibromyalgia or back pain.


Hormonal Balance: Pranayama may help regulate hormones and alleviate symptoms related to hormonal imbalances, including PMS and menopausal symptoms.


Cognitive Function: Improved oxygenation through pranayama can enhance cognitive function and mental clarity.


Emotional Regulation: Pranayama can support emotional regulation, helping individuals manage emotions more effectively.


Immune System Support: Deep breathing techniques in pranayama can enhance oxygen delivery to cells, potentially boosting immune function.


Addiction Recovery: Pranayama can be a valuable tool for individuals in addiction recovery, helping them manage cravings and reduce stress.


Weight Management: Mindful eating and stress reduction through pranayama can support healthy weight management.


Preparation for Meditation: Pranayama is often used as a preparation for meditation, helping individuals enter a focused and meditative state.


General Well-Being: Pranayama fosters an overall sense of well-being, promoting physical, mental, and emotional balance.

What Can I Expect In A Pranayama Class?


In a Pranayama class, you can expect:


Breath Awareness: The core of the class is centred around breath awareness and control. Participants learn to observe and manipulate their breath to enhance physical, mental, and emotional well-being.


Guided Breath Techniques: The instructor guides students through various pranayama techniques, each with specific effects on the body and mind. These techniques may include deep breathing, alternate nostril breathing, Ujjayi breath, Kapalabhati, and more.


Mindful Practice: Pranayama is practised with mindfulness and full presence, fostering a deep connection between the breath and the present moment. This mindfulness can improve focus and reduce stress.


Breath Rhythm and Pace: Students explore different rhythms and paces of breathing to elicit various responses, from calming the nervous system to increasing energy and alertness.


Seated or Supine Posture: Pranayama is often practised in a seated or supine position to optimise the flow of breath. Proper posture and alignment are emphasised to support effective breath control.


Quiet Environment: Pranayama classes are typically conducted in a quiet and tranquil environment to promote concentration and inner awareness.


Progressive Learning: The class may follow a progressive approach, starting with simpler breath techniques and gradually introducing more advanced practices as students become more proficient.

Physical and Mental Benefits: Pranayama can have a wide range of physical and mental benefits, including improved lung capacity, stress reduction, enhanced oxygenation of the body, and heightened relaxation response.


Enhanced Vitality: Some pranayama techniques aim to increase vitality and energy, making it a valuable practice for those seeking greater vitality and balance.


Emotional Regulation: Pranayama can help regulate emotions and promote emotional well-being, making it a useful tool for managing stress, anxiety, and mood.


Integration with Asana: Pranayama is often integrated with physical yoga postures (asana) and meditation for a holistic yoga practice.

What Are Some Examples Of Pranayama? 

Ujjayi Pranayama: Also known as "Ocean Breath," Ujjayi involves breathing through the nose with a slight constriction in the throat, creating a gentle, ocean-like sound. It is calming and helps enhance concentration.

Nadi Shodhana (Alternate Nostril Breathing): Nadi Shodhana involves inhaling and exhaling through alternate nostrils. This practice balances the left and right sides of the brain, promoting mental clarity and emotional equilibrium.

Kapalabhati: Kapalabhati, or "Skull Shining Breath," is a forceful exhalation through the nose, followed by passive inhalation. It energises the body, clears the mind, and aids in detoxification.

Bhramari Pranayama: This technique involves inhaling through the nose and then producing a humming sound during exhalation, creating a soothing effect that reduces stress and anxiety.


Anulom Vilom (Nadi Shodhana Variation): Anulom Vilom is a variation of alternate nostril breathing, which involves inhaling through one nostril and exhaling through the other in a sequential pattern. It purifies the nadis (energy channels) and promotes balance.


Sitali Pranayama: Sitali involves inhaling through a rolled tongue or pursed lips, creating a cooling sensation in the body. It helps reduce body heat and promotes relaxation.


Bhastrika (Bellows Breath): Bhastrika is a rapid and forceful breathing technique that increases energy, boosts metabolism, and promotes mental alertness.


Dirgha Pranayama (Three-Part Breath): This technique involves deep, diaphragmatic breathing, filling the lower, middle, and upper lungs sequentially. It promotes relaxation and stress reduction.


Surya Bhedana (Right Nostril Breathing): Surya Bhedana is the practice of inhaling through the right nostril and exhaling through the left. It is thought to activate the body's heating energy and increase vitality.


Each type of pranayama offers unique benefits, and you can choose the techniques that best suit your goals and needs, whether it's relaxation, energy, mental clarity, or physical balance. It's important to practise pranayama under the guidance of a qualified teacher, especially when learning new techniques or if you have specific health concerns.

Yoga guru BKS Iyengar with legendary violinist, Yehudi Menuhin. Menuhin took up yoga when he was 36 and practised it until his death almost 50 years later, calling Iyengar, "my best violin teacher".

bottom of page