Some types of breathing in Yoga

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200 HR YOGA TEACHER TRANING Weekday (In Apr – May 2017 )


Because 200 Hour Yoga Teacher Training book does not talk too much about breathing and breathing techniques, so I would like to explore this topic as my research document. All of my documents are referenced on the Internet but I rearranged them with my way. I’ve noticed that there are a lot of different breathing types. Some of breathing types have the same technique but having different names. Here is my summary:

1. Sama Vritti (Even Breath)

In this practice, the inhales and exhales should be even, so the same amount of energy that is drawn in, is then recycled out.

TRY IT: Inhale for four counts and hold for two counts. Exhale for four counts and hold for two counts. Repeat for 10 rounds.

2. Ujjayi (Victorious Breath or Ocean Breath or Warrior’s Breath)

Ujjayi breath is generated by allowing the flow of breath to pass gently along the glottis, the base of the throat, creating a soft but audible sound. (Think Darth Vader breath.) You breath in and out through your nose. While exhaling, you want to push the air up through the back of your throat, making an “h” sound — but keep the lips sealed. This forced exhale activates your abdominal muscles slightly more than normal, which is why it is used more in strong practices to build heat.

TRY IT: Inhale for four counts with ujjayi sound. Exhale for four counts with ujjayi sound. Repeat for 10 rounds.

3. Nadi Shodhana (Alternate Nostril Breath)

Use this breath if you are preparing to meditate or to clear your mind before an active practice. The goal of this breathing exercise is to breathe through one nostril at a time. It’s best to do this exercise in a seated, cross-legged posture.

With your right hand, lightly press the tips of your index and middle finger of your forehead, the tips of your ring finger and pinky finger on the left nostril, and the tip of your thumb over your right nostril.

Close the left nostril with your ring and pinky finger and exhale through the right nostril. Then breathe in through the right nostril, close it with your thumb, and exhale through the left nostril. Continue to alternate sides until you’ve done ten breaths with each nostril.

TRY IT: Start by emptying the lungs on an exhale. Close the right nostril with the right thumb, and breathe in through the left nostril for four counts. Hold for two counts. Inhale for four counts and hold for two counts. Exhale for four counts and hold for two counts. Repeat for 10 rounds.

Seal the left nostril with the right ring finger and breathe out through the right nostril for four counts. Hold for two counts. Breathe in through the right nostril for four counts and hold for two counts. Seal the right nostril with the right thumb, and breathe out through the left nostril for four counts. Hold for two counts. Repeat the cycle eight times.

4. Viloma 1 (Interrupted Inhales)

“Vi” means negation and “loma” means hair. This breath, which pauses ujjayi breath on the inhale, moves against the grain.

TRY IT: Inhale for two counts and pause for two counts. Inhale for two more counts. Exhale for four counts. Repeat for 10 rounds, activating the ujjayi breath.

5. Viloma 2 (Interrupted Exhales)

In Viloma 2, ujjayi breath is paused on the exhale.

TRY IT: Inhale for four counts. Exhale for two counts, and pause for two counts. Exhale for two more counts. Repeat for 10 rounds, activating the ujjayi breath.

6. Kumbhaka Pranayama (Breath Retention)

If you inhale fully and then wait 10 seconds, you will be able to inhale a bit more, Strom says. Why? Holding your breath increases pressure inside the lungs and gives them time to fully expand, increasing their capacity. As a result, the blood that then travels to the heart, brain, and muscles will be more oxygenated.

TRY IT… after asana to prepare for meditation. Inhale, inflating the lungs as fully as possible. Hold the breath for 10 seconds. After 10 seconds, inhale a little more. Then hold it for as long as you can. One caveat: For anxious people, breath retention can be difficult. Strom suggests they start with holding the breath for 3 seconds, or as long as they’re comfortable, and work their way up.

7. Kapalabhati Pranayama (Breath of Fire or Skull-Shining Breath).

This rapid breathing technique is energizing, and activates the sympathetic nervous system. In a study using EEG electrodes to measure brain activity, researchers found that Kapalabhati Pranayama increased the speed of decision-making in a test requiring focus. However, “For people already under stress, I don’t think Breath of Fire is a good idea,” Strom says. “You’re throwing gasoline on the fire.”

TRY IT…  to jump-start your asana practice when you feel lethargic, or for brainpower when you’re foggy. To start, take a full, deep inhale and exhale slowly. Inhale again, and begin exhaling by quickly pulling in the lower abs to force air out in short spurts. Your inhalation will be passive between each active, quick exhalation. Continue for 25–30 exhalations.

8. Dirga Pranayama (Three-Part Breath)

Place your left hand on your low abdomen, a few inches below your belly button, and place your right hand on the outer right edge of your rib cage. Begin to focus your awareness on your breath as it moves in and out of your body through your nose. On your inhalations, feel the natural lift of your belly, followed by the expansion of your ribs. On your exhalations, feel the slight compression of your ribs, followed by the drop of your belly. Exhale completely, pressing very gently on your abdomen to help expel air. Next, bring your left hand to your chest, placing it in the center, just below your collarbone. As you inhale, breathe all the way into this area and allow your chest to rise slightly. Then, exhale comp

TRY IT: Release your arms and focus your mind on your breath, continuing the three-part breath with full and complete inhalations and exhalations. Continue for up to five minutes, or for as long as you feel comfortable.

9. Sitali/Sitkari Pranayama (The Cooling Breath)

*  Step 1: Sitali Pranayama

Sit comfortably, either in a chair or on the floor, with your shoulders relaxed and your spine naturally erect. Slightly lower the chin, curl the tongue lengthwise, and project it out of the mouth to a comfortable distance. Inhale gently through the “straw” formed by your curled tongue as you slowly lift your chin toward the ceiling, lifting only as far as the neck is comfortable. At the end of the inhalation, with your chin comfortably raised, retract the tongue and close the mouth. Exhale slowly through the nostrils as you gently lower your chin back to a neutral position. Repeat for 8 to 12 breaths.

 * Step 2: Sitkari Pranayama

Open the mouth slightly with your tongue just behind the teeth. Inhale slowly through the space between the upper and lower teeth, letting the air wash over your tongue as you raise your chin toward the ceiling. At the end of the inhalation, close the mouth and exhale through the nostrils as you slowly lower your chin back to neutral. Repeat for 8 to 12 breaths.

 * Step 3: The Long Exhale

Step 1 and step 2 breathing practice, which involves gradually increasing your exhalation until it is twice the length of your inhalation, relaxes the nervous system.

TRY IT: Twice a day, or as needed during stressful times. Sitali and Sitkari Pranayama are particularly supportive when you’re feeling drowsy in the morning or during an afternoon slump when you need to improve your focus.

10. Brahmari Pranayama (Bee Breath)

Sit comfortably, with the back tall and shoulders relaxed. Start by taking a few natural breaths, and close your eyes (as long as closing them doesn’t produce more anxiety). Then, keeping the lips lightly sealed, inhale through the nostrils. Exhaling, make the sound of the letter M, essentially a humming sound. Sustain the sound until you need to inhale. Then repeat: Inhale through the nose, then hum like a buzzing bee as you exhale. Continue by inhaling as needed and exhaling with this sound for several minutes

TRY IT: Inhale whenever necessary, and let the buzzing sound last as long as it is comfortable. Finally, spend a few breaths sitting quietly and noticing whether there are any changes in your breath or mood.”

11. Svara Pramayama (Dog Breath)

Sit comfortably and attend to your breath as it passes in and out through your nostrils. It’s likely you’ll feel a difference between the two; your inhale, for example, is touching your right nostril near the septum, but your left nostril below the wing. Watch for a minute or two, then begin to channel (or “narrow”) your inhales across your inner nostrils. Continue for a minute or two.

TRY IT: After breathing normally for 30 seconds, begin to channel (or “widen”) your exhales beneath s your outer nostrils, “widening” your breath. Again continue for a minute or two, then return to normal breathing for 30 seconds. These points (two in each nostril) are the “inner nostril” just beside the septum, and the “outer nostril,” underneath the “wing” (ala) of the nose.




While priorities may differ between styles and teachers, when to inhale and exhale during asana is a fairly standardized practice element. Here, offering 3 simple guidelines for pairing breath with types of poses.

When bending forward, exhale.

When you exhale, the lungs empty, making the torso more compact, so there is less physical mass between your upper and lower body as they move toward each other. The heart rate also slows on the exhalation, making it less activating than an inhalation and inducing a relaxation response. Since forward bend are typically quieting postures, this breathing rule enhances the energetic effects of the pose and the depth of the fold.

When lifting or opening the chest, inhale.

In a heart-opening back bend, for instance, you increase the space in your chest cavity, giving the lungs, rib cage, and diaphragm more room to fill with air. And heart rate speeds up on an inhalation, increasing alertness and pumping more blood to muscles. Plus, “Deep inhalation requires muscular effort that contributes to its activating effect,” Cole says. Poses that lift and open the chest are often the practice’s energizing components, so synchronizing them with inhalations takes optimum advantage of the breath’s effects on the body.

When twisting, exhale.

In twists, the inhalation accompanies the preparation phase of the pose (lengthening the spine, etc.), and the exhalation is paired with the twisting action. Posturally, that’s because as your lungs empty there’s more physical space available for your rib cage to rotate further. But twists are also touted for their detoxifying effects, and the exhalation is the breath’s cleansing mechanism for expelling CO2.

Conlusion: I think these contents useful for the new traning if you want to practice absolutely all of postures. For beginners, it is recommended to practice some similar breathing techniques such as Sama Vritti (Even Breath), Viloma 1 (Interrupted Inhales), Viloma 2 (Interrupted Exhales), Bhastrika Pranayama. For the intermediate level, such as: Kapalabhati Pranayama (Breath of Fire or Skull-Shining Breath), Brahmari Pranayama (Bee Breath), Nadi Shodhana (Alternate Nostril Breath). For Advanced/ Themed, the high level for professional will apply the techniques such as: Ujjayi (Victorious Breath or Ocean Breath or Warrior’s Breath), Kumbhaka Pranayama (Breath Retention), Dirga Pranayama (Three-Part Breath), Sitali/Sitkari Pranayama (The Cooling Breath)…

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