Ayurvedic Healing Methods – Pranayama

Hey guys! It’s been a while since i’ve gotten a chance to post about Ayurveda and the various methods of healing associated with it. I want to focus on a different healing method called pranayama. Pranayama is the philosophy and techniques behind breathing extension and control. The word “pranayama” is comprised of two parts: “prana” which means “breath” or “the life force that is sustaining the body”, and “ayama” which means “to draw out or to pull”. Therefore, pranayama means drawing out and controlling breath. In a deeper sense this means sustaining and healing the body using controlled breathing methods.

There are many different breathing methods that can be used to sustain and heal the body. Each method is based on one’s prakriti, or unique combination of doshas. Most pranayama is best done in the morning on an empty stomach in a room with a generous supply of fresh air. They should be done sitting upright in a cross legged pose. It you’re a beginner doing pranayama for the first time then “Ujjayi” (translates as victorious breath) is the recommended breathing method. It is a relaxing yet energizing breathing method that will help you relax and learn to control each breath. One you’ve mastered Ujjayi then it is recommended that you move into other pranayamas depending on prakriti. Your technique should be the opposite of your dominant dosha. Therefore if you your dominant dosha is the kapha dosha, which is dense, cool, and earthy, then the recommended method would be “Bhastrika”, or bellows breath. Bellow breath will lighten and lift the unnecessary kapha from your body and balance you out. If your dominant dosha is the pitta dosha then “Sitali” breath is the right technique for you. It is done by inhaling through a curled tongue and exhaling through the nostrils slowly and rhymically for several minutes until you begin to feel calm and relaxed. The “Nadi Shodhana” or alternative nostril breathing method is the recommended method if your dominant dosha is the vata dosha. Nadi Shodhana has variety of benefits including clearing respiratory passages, clearing and relieving the mind and lowering stress hormone levels. Another breathing method, “Kapalabhati” pranayama, or skull shining method (this translates into “head or cranium” and “knowledge or light”) helps bring clarity and healing to the brain. The skull shining method thus improves focus and memory, improves concentration, and energizes the brain and the rest of the body as well.

In conclusion, pranayama is an excellent way to harmonize the doshas whenever they get out of sync with each other. Pranyama has great health benefits and can be used proactively to maintain health or reactively if necessary to alleviate stress. Pranayama is important because it establishes consciousness in breathing and in thought and clarity and spaciousness of the mind. This is important to achieve the ultimate balance between body and mind as well as developing self awareness and knowledge.