Yoga is an ancient Indian body of knowledge that dates back more than 5000 years ago. The word "Yoga" came from the Sanskrit word "yuj" which means "to unite or integrate." Today ,interest in heath consciousness is attracting people from all over the world to earn better health in body and contentment in mind. now a days people are looking towords natural ways of approch in health & happiness.This search has brought YOGA in our daliy life.Yoga keeps our inner body and inner mind clean & clear to lead a life of benevolence. The practice of Yoga Exercises or Asanas can improve your health, increase your resistance, and develope your mental awareness. Doing the Yoga Poses requires you to study each pose and execute it slowly as you control your body and your mind.

Sunday, March 4, 2007


In sanskrit pranayam means
Prana - "life energy"
Yama - "control"
Ayama - "expansion"

My dear friends, Pranayama is a vast & never ending topic. But I will try to explain some of the basic things which are required to be done before doing pranayama and during paranayama. This will help you to understand the basic concepts and procedures. Friends feel free to ask me questions about pranayama.

Try to do pranayama under proper guidence of your yoga teacher.

What is Pranayam?

It is a control of breath.
1) It is a series of exercises to keep the body in vibrant health.
2) These techniques have also proved to help the prevention of major diseases and cure minor illnesses.

Preparation for Pranayama-

The process of Pranayama is concerned with the breathing, which is the indicator of life. And therefore, if it is done wrongly, it may do harm. This fear dissuades many from taking pranayama. The second reason for its unpopularity is the absence of teachers who can teach it scientifically.

But it does not mean that it is such a difficult process, that it cannot be done by a common man. On the contrary, if it is learnt and practiced properly one will experience the wonderful and even unimaginable benefits of pranayam.

These are the breathing techniques, which

1) Strengthen the immune system
2) Calms and steadies the mind
3) Improves focus and concentration
4) Increases the rate of metabolism (to aid with weight loss)
5) Increases lung capacity

Different types of Pranayam
1) Anulom vilom pranayam
2) Bhastrika pranayam
3) Kapal bhati pranayam
4) Shitali pranayam
5) Shitkari pranayam
6) Bhramri pranayam

Note: For all the procedures below one count is close to one second.

1) Anulom vilom pranayam

1) Inhale through the left nostril, closing the right nostril with the right thumb, to the count of four.
2) Hold the breath, closing both nostrils, to the count of sixteen.
3) Exhale through the right nostril, closing the left nostril with the ring and little fingers, to the count of eight.
4) Inhale through the right nostril, keeping the left nostril closed with the ring and little fingers, to the count of four.
5) Hold the breath, closing both nostrils, to the count of sixteen.
6) Exhale through the left nostril, keeping the right nostril closed with the right thumb, to the count of eight.

In short
Breathe in --- through left nostril
Breathe out --- through right nostril
Breathe in --- through right nostril
Breathe out --- through left nostril.
This completes one cycle

1) It produces optimum function to both sides of the brain.
The left side of brain is responsible for logical thinking and the right side is responsible for creative thinking to function properly. This will lead to a balance between a person's creative and logical thinking.

2)It calms the mind and the Nervous System.

Do 2 sets of 15 cycle each.
You can increase it by 2 sets of 30 cycle each.

2) Bhastrika pranayam
1) Sit in padmasan or in sukhasan.
2) Keep back erect.Take support if you want or sit on the chair.
3) Bhastrika is a Sanskrit word meaning the bellows (the instrument to blow air) of a blacksmith.
4) Air is drawn in and out forcefully like a bellows, so it is known as Bhastrika Pranayama.
5) In this pranayam inhalation is passive (without force), but exhalation is active with a little force. Start slowly ,then increase the speed.
6) Inhale and exhale quickly in short and shallow breaths through both nostrils for four to ten times.
7) Then exhale completely, holding the breath for a while.
8) After this, inhale through the right nostril and retain the breath for a while and then exhale slowly.
9) Again, inhale and exhale through the nostrils contracting the middle and lower portions of the abdomen .

1) Bhastrika supplies a plentiful supply of oxygen to the lungs.
2) It produces heat in the body and increases appetite.
3) Removes disorders of the respiratory system, improves efficiency of the nervous system
4) Reduces fat in the abdominal region and enhances purity of consciousnes.
5) Bhastrika is useful for digestive function, diabetes, sinus, etc.

1) Do one round of 30 strokes,then rest for 1 min
2) Repeat it for 2-3 times.

3) Kapalbhati Pranayam-
In a Sanskrit Kapal means skull and Bhati means to shine. The term ‘Kapalabhati’ means an
exercise that makes the skull shine.

1) Sit in sukhasan or padmasana.
2) Inhale slowly, relaxing the abdomen allowing the air to return gently to the lungs.
3) Exhale with a quick, strong blast of air. Contract the abdominal muscles quickly causing the diaphragm to rise and force the air out of the lungs.
4) Retain for a split second and repeat for four to eight blasts.
5) This completes one cycle of Kapalabhati. Relax and take few slow and deep breaths in between the cycles.

Nerves gets reverberate in this exercise. In this exercise our cells, neurons and nerves vibrate rapidly. In the beginning, exhale only once per second. Increasing your speed slowly then exhale twice per second.

1) Initially practice a cycle of ten exhalations. Increase the number of exhalation slowly.
2) 30 exhalations= 1 set
3) Do 2-3 set.

1) Kapalbhati clears your skull, respiratory tract and the sinus.
2) Destroying the cough that clogs the trachia Kapalbhati leads to the cure of asthma.
3) By practice of Kapalbhati, air cells in the lungs receive ample amount of life giving oxygen, hence germs or diseases like tuberculosis cannot harm them.
4) Carbon dioxide, the gaseous waste of respiration process is exhaled out in large amount thus purifying the blood.
5) This process also activates the heart and enhances the capacity of the respiratory system, circulation system and digestive system.

4) Shitali Pranayam

Shitali-means cool
This breath cools the body so it is best done in hot weather or at the end of a vigorous
yoga session.

1) Sit in sukhasana or padmasana.
2) Take two or three deep inhales and exhales through the nose to prepare.
3) Roll the tongue, curling the sides in towards the center to form a tube. Stick the end of the tongue out between your pursed lips. If you can’t roll your tongue, just purse the lips making a small “o” shape with the mouth.
4) Inhale through the tube of the tongue.
5) Exhale through the nose.
6) Repeat 5-10 times as you feel the cooling effect.

Restrictions :
Do not Practice more than ten rounds at a time. While practicing Shitali for the first time, some practitioner would catch cold or get a sore throat. In such case it is better to stop further practice.

Benefits :
1) It cools the whole body and the nervous system.
2) It will have a pacifying and relieving effect for various troubles such as headache, fever etc.
3) It activates the liver and spleen, improve digestion and relieve thirst.
4) Shitali pranayama is highly recommended as an immediate remedy for nervousness.

5) Shitkari Pranayam

1) Open the lips and keep the teeth together
2) Lightly press the tip of the tongue against the lower front teeth.
3) Inhale through the mouth over the tongue with a kind of hissing sound like the sound of the letter 's'.
4) After filling the lungs completely, close the mouth and exhale through both nostrils without retention.

1) Practice Shitakari for one to five minutes, increasing the time one minute each week.
2) Like Shitali, it should be practiced in the summer.
3) Although those who are subject to excess bile can do it in any season.

1) It reduces heat, clears the complexion and helps in controlling thirst, hunger and sleep.

6) Bhramri Pranayam

The original word in the term Bhramari is Bhramar (humming bee). This pranayam relates to
the word bhramar, i. e. the sound that bhramar emits. The characteristics of this pranayama is to create a sound like that of the humming bee.

1) Sit in padmasana or sukhasana.
2) Raise bent arms to shoulder level & close external earcanals with thumbs .
3) Place index & middle fingers gently on closed eyes which look upwards.
4) Place ring fingers gently on the sides of the nostrils.
5) Place little fingers on upper lip to feel flow of air through the nostrils.
6) Inhale.
7) Try to produce sound of the humming bee through larynx (sound box) while exhaling through nostrils.
8) Return to original position & gently open the eyes.

1) Initially do it for 5 to 7 times.
2) Gradually increase up to 15 times.

1) It makes the voice sweet and gently, and helps clarity of speech.
2) Breathing becomes deep and subtle.
3) It is useful for hypertension and depression and aids brain cells.

Use of Pranayam to cure disease

Please follow the below table accordingly.

Disease -- Pranayam
Digestion Disorder --Anuloma-viloma Pranayama
Eye weakness --Anuloma-viloma Pranayama, Deep breathing, Shitli Pranayama
Insomnia --Shitli Pranayama, Shitkari Pranayama,
Constipation --Anuloma-viloma Pranayama, Deep breathing.
Acidity --Shitli Pranayama, Bhramari Pranayama.
Joint pain --Bhastrika Pranayama,Deep breathing,
Weak Memory -- Anuloma-viloma Pranayama - 5 minutes
Diabetes --Anuloma-viloma Pranayama, Shitli Pranayama, Shitkari
Harnia --Anuloma-viloma Pranayama (Avoid Retention)
Piles --Anuloma-viloma Pranayama, Bhastrika Pranayama.
Gas Trouble --Anuloma-Viloma Pranayama
High Blood Pressure --Shitli Pranayama,Shitkari Pranayama
Low Blood Pressure --Bhastrika Pranayama-5 minutes
Mantel Disorder --Anuloma-viloma Pranayama, Shitali Pranayama,Shitkari
Common Cold --Anuloma-viloma Pranayama
Tonsil --Bhramari Pranayama
Fever --Anuloma-viloma Pranayama.
Back Ache --Bhastrika Pranayama
Spinal Disorder --Bhastrika Pranayama, Anuloma-viloma Pranayama
Skin Diseases --Bhastrika Pranayama, Anuloma-viloma Pranayama



you have written so well and in such a smple language, very usefl for layman like me


dipti said...

Very good & descriptive information... Thanx a lot for sharing it.
Keep it up...

swapna said...

Hi Aparna
thanks for visiting my blog.U are doing a great job.Ur site is good .

I want to know about the yoga for arthritis.When i tried to open the page thru the labels u have given it is saying that under construction.I will be very thankful if u give some asanas for this problem.
I have one doubt...At my younger age i heard from some body that we shouldn't do yoga unless otherwise we have learn it from the person who knows yoga.(i mean directly)is it correct?can we do yoga just reading in some book or in internet.please don't mind.from my childhood this doubt is there for me.Really i want to do this for a long time.but because of this doubt i am hesitating.please don't mind.i will be very very thankful if u cleared this one.My hubby has i want him to start the one u have described here.
Thanku for everything..

Dr.Aparna S. Pattewar said...

Hi Swapna,

Learning from a yoga teacher is the best method. But if you can't then you can read my blog carefully and practise yoga.
For your husband I would suggest to follow the asanas given in Hypertension post because those asanas are very easy to perform and if you do it sincerely it will give positive results too.
If you have any questions please do not hesitate to ask me.

Kamala said...

Its really good Aparna .

Kamala said...

You have really given good informaiton

Dr.Aparna S. Pattewar said...

Hi kamala,
realy thanks for your comments :-)

Anonymous said...


I like your blog and its very informative. After reading your article on pranayam I've a question for you. Is there a pranayam to cure the lipomas(fatty lumps) I've on my arms?

Please do let me know.

Thanks a lot for all the informative articles you have written.

Anonymous said...


I started doing pranayam after reading your article. I get a dull headache after doing pranayam. Presently I'm doing Anulom vilom pranayam and Kapalbhati Pranayam. Am I doing anything wrong?


Dr.Aparna S. Pattewar said...

Hi there,
Everybody experiences dullness at the start,but if you feel it more do less repeations of each pranayama .Before starting pranayam do practise long & deep breathing.
Once you become comfertable with anulom vilom pranayam then only practise kapalbhati.

Anonymous said...

Thanks a lot for your comments!

Dr.Aparna S. Pattewar said...

Hi there,
I dont think so that yoga can cure lipomas.
Thanks for visiting my blog.

Anonymous said...

Thats sad to know. I'm really sick of these lipomas, they keep popping up.

Anyway thanks a lot for your reply.

Anonymous said...

Hi Aparna,
Should kapalbhati pranayama be avoided if you have hernia? I've a small hiatal hernia, so should I avoid this pranayama.
I read something about it here:

Don't know how true it is, so just confirming.

If I can do kapalbhati pranayama then do I have to take some special precautions.
Is there any other pranayama that I should avoid because of this hiatal hernia. Please do let me know.

Thanks a lot for this informative blog.

Dr.Aparna S. Pattewar said...

Hi there,
thax a lot for your comments on my blog.
According to me you should avoid kapalbhati pranayam. you can go for Anulom vilom pranayam or omkar jap (omkar pranayam).
Take care.

Anonymous said...

Hi Aparna,
Thanks for replying. Presently I do anulom vilom pranayam, brahmri pranayam and deep breathing.
I'll start doing omkar pranayam also.

I was doing kapalbhati as I have sinus problem. I get very severe pain under my eye brows region in an airplane(esp. when its descending). Is there any other pranayam which helps with sinus problems?

Thanks again.

Dr.Aparna S. Pattewar said...

bhramari & omkar jap/ pranayam are the best for sinus problem.
Thanks again for visiting my blog :)

Anonymous said...

Thanks for such a nice, well-written article. I have a doubt regarding the Anulom-Vilom Pranayam. I feel very sleepy while doing it. Is it acceptable to do this Pranayam while lying in the bed? Further, is it ok to do it before sleeping (as well as in the morning)? Thanks

Dr.Aparna S. Pattewar said...

Initially you may feel sleepy while doing Anulom -vilom pranayama or any other pranayama, because you start feeling relaxing(means slow & deep breathing, muscles also get relaxed thats why person may get sleepy feeling)

It is acceptable to do this Pranayam while lying in the bed. Yes you can do this pranayam before sleeping ,as well as in the morning also.(Try it you will get deep & sound sleep)
Take care.

Anonymous said...

I have heard that if you go the Ramdev Bab's shibir...they have a tendancy to cure Lipomas by Kapalbhati pranayam and some medicines. You can check it out.

Dr.Aparna S. Pattewar said...

Hi my dear friend,
I have heard the same. There is no harm in doing Kapalbhati daily. Try to do 500 kapalbhati strokes /day. But start slowly with 50 per day ,& then gradualy increase.
Best luck & take care.

Joy said...

Very good article, I am glad I found your blog. I have couple questions -

I get slight headache after I practice Anulom-Vilom or Kapal bhati. Am I doing anything wrong?

I have a chronic problem of Eczhema, it comes every year fall/spring begins for about last 8 years now. Do you suggest any medicine, pranayam, yoga for this? I want to get rid off it completely as it is very recurrent now.

Thanks for your time.

kaya yog said...


i am yoga teacher and now a days i am working in sweden i had my yoga education from k.dham .
vikas verma

pattu said...

Hi Aparna,
I had hernia problem and it got repaired on 11th August 2007. Since hernia operation completed one year so can I start pranayam again. Can I do Kapalbhati also?

Please give your comments.

GC..... said...

For Lipoma,

Kanchanar Googgul
Vriddhvatika along with pranayam's may help

Anonymous said...

Its great information. I have some questions: Which pranayama is useful in case of
1. pulpitation 2. feeling like fear 3. Strain on eye 4. General weakness & 5. High Cholestrol? Thank a lot!

Dr.Aparna S. Pattewar said...

Hi Amit,
If you have palpitation,fear and general weakness you should see the doctor.
Do general examination.
And slowly start doing pranayama.for fear,general weakenss you can do Anulom-vilom pranayama,Bhramari pranayama.
For stain on eyes you can do eye exercise like tratak.

For high cholesterol kapalbhati pranayam is very effective.
Slowly try all pranayama.
Take care.

gopal said...

Hi madam
i'm regular practicener of pranayama(ramdev baba) however since a week i am having a light pain in lower abdomen(above thighs) do you still aadvice me to continue my pranayama or show to doctor and then continue.i feel pain in hernia region pladvise.
you are doing wonderful job hats of

Dr.Aparna S. Pattewar said...

Hi Gopal,
Thank you for your comments on yoga blog.I will suggest you to go to Doctor for check up.It is always better to do check up as precaution.You can ask your Doctor about yoga.
Take care.

Sara said...

Hi Aparna,
Very nice post.I have one question.Can I do Kapalabhati pranayam during menstruation?


Dr.Aparna S. Pattewar said...

Hi Vikas,
It is nice to hear from you.I believe k.dham is the best place to learn yoga.

Dr.Aparna S. Pattewar said...

Hi Pattu,
Which type of Harnia you have operated You can ask your Doctor regarding doing yoga. If your harnia is operated correctly with no other complications, then you can do pranayama.
Take care.

Dr.Aparna S. Pattewar said...

Hi Gc,
I think you should see a good Ayurvedic Doctor.Kanchanar Googgul
Vriddhvatika along with pranayam's will help to solve your problem.
Take care.

Dr.Aparna S. Pattewar said...

Hi, Sara
I believe, we should not do kapalbhati pranayama during menstrual cycle.However we can do shitali,shitkari and anulom vilom pranayama.
Take care.

samaeyaka said...

my fifteen year old son has been diagnosed with significant reflux and moderate hiatal hernia,and changes in duodenitis, is surgery necessary or can it be cured with yoga and which asanas should he do this is the third year he is very sick and actually he started with unexplained incessant vomiting in 07 followed by severe headache and stomachache which he still has. He is of very angry nature and fearful abt death or short i think he has lost complete interest in life.Also our life had been very sad and surrounded by unfaithful people so the illness took more toll on him.which excercises will benefit him tremendously and help him to be positive and happy?He used to frequently get big painful boils /ulcers in his mouth(3 to 5 at one time) which have reduced due to ayurvedic medicines,what can be done tomake his life normal and meaningful as he has not gone to school and is still not going to school for past 2 years.I anticipate that he got this abdominal/digestive problem due to mindless abdominal excercises and kicking in stomach before karate black belt,which we stopped in 07 when his problembegan.and this was compounded by the torturing of the P.T. teacher who doubled it up with more abdominal crunches saying that "if you could do there why not in P.T period" followed by no eating at school and no drinking of waterdue to the fear that teacher will shout if he wants to go to the toilet.literally the boy had to be pulled from the jaws of death. when reason for his vomiting could not be diagnosed our family doctor ruined his condition by overdose of azithral for a month .and all this had completely drained him out and destryoed his alimentary system which has slowly recovered(not fully) in the past one year with ayurvedic medicines. I think ,but sice last week he developed severe breathing problem and was gasping whole day and night so after a doc suggested ba meal then he was diagnosed with significant reflux,changes in duodenitis and hiatal hernia.I have faith in the ayurvedic medicine he is taking for past 10 months as he has not got mouth boils recently, so I am continuing the same for duodenitis sake, but what is your best wholistic advice for his painful sad conditionso that he can have a healthy happy life once again.i WILL BE VERY GRATEFUL THANK YOU.samaeyaka pune india.

Anonymous said...

Hello Sir,

Can you please tell me correct steps for omkar pranayam?
I mean duration for inhale
and how to pronounce
I heard we hv to pronounce as "aum" no "Om"

can you please guide?


Dr.Aparna S. Pattewar said...

Hi Samaeyaka,
Sorry for late reply.Be careful before starting any yoga or asnas consult your doctor. Because The doctor will decide his condition.I think your son should start with Anulom vilom pranayama and omkar jap.And slowly as he gain the energy he can start doing other asanas.
Take care.

Honey said...

I think this is a nice blog. You not only explained very carefully but very clearly in simple language. This nice blog has inspired me to attend the yoga classes. Your blog always teach me something new.


Devi said...

Super blog:)

Anonymous said...

I have undergone Inguinal hernia 7 years back. I tried Kapalbhati for a week and now have pain in the same area. I am unable to stop Kapalbhati, as it has really benefited me.
Please suggest ways of continuing the same. or if you can suggest some alternate along with Kapalbhati to ensure my muscles strengthen.
please help.

Vaidya Aparna S. Pattewar said...

Dear friend, if you had inguinal hernia and getting pain now, I would ask you to go to your doctor and do check up for it.
Do not do kapalbhati, it will increase hernia.
Do only anulom vilom only.

Moin said...

Very well written but can you tell the sequence?

Vaidya Aparna S. Pattewar said...

Thank you Moin for visiting my blog. Follow the same sequence as I have explained in the article.

nura said...

I'm arun from Erode,Tamil Nadu, have headache for past 4 months without break and went to doctor 2 neuro and 2 opthamologist and 1 ENT and finally conclude it is Migraine Headache. Now i'm taking medicines for Migraine and Ulcer in Ayurvedic. yes i have also ulcer for 2 years. So one yoga teacher told me to do Anulom-Vilom. Started doing before 1 month Initially with Anulom-Vilom gives pleasant and reduced headache but now problem is reversed i'm having headache after Anulom-Vilom, it extends throughout the day. I dont know what to do? Can i get a permanent cure ? What should i do for permanent cure ? Hope you help me. Please give some guidance.

Dr Nikunj Pandya said...

Well explained Aparna!!!
I practiced Pranayam few times. Surly, it will help many.