Pranayama (Harmonization)

Prana – The first smallest unit of energy.
Ayama – Dimension.
Pranayama is the technique responsible for voluntary, scientific and systematic  management (expansion, contraction, balancing) of ‘dimensions of Prana.’
The flow of Prana is affected by the Shat Karmas and Asanas also but the breathing  techniques postulated in the Yogic scriptures give the practitioner total/absolute/perfect  and the finest/minutest control over the dimensions of Prana. That is why Pranayama  term is conferred upon the breathing techniques only.

Hatha Yoga Pradeepika enumerates following types of Kumbhakas viz.
  1. Surya Bheda
  2. Ujjayi
  3. Sitali
  4. Sitkari
  5. Bhramari
  6. Bhastrika
  7. Plavini
Note: In Gheranda Samhita Sitakari and Plavini are replaced by Sahita and Kevali.
Patanjali enumerates 4 types of Pranayama depending upon the time of Kumbhaka  (retention of breath) viz.
  1. Bahya (External)
  2. Bahyabhyantara (As and Where)
  3. Abhyantara (Internal)
  4. Kevala (Spontaneous)
Components of Pranayama
Rechaka (Exhalation)
Puraka (Inhalation)
Kumbhaka (Retention)

Basis of Pranayama
chale vate chalam chittam nischale nischalam bhavet
yogi sthanutvam apnoti tato vayum nirodhayet

चले वाते चलं चित्तं निश्चले निश्चलं भवेत्
योगी स्थाणुत्वम् आप्नोति ततो वायुं निरोधयेत्

When prana moves, chitta (the mental force) moves. When prana is without movement, chitta is without movement. By this (steadiness of prana) the yogi attains steadiness and should thus restrain the vayu (air).

The yogis practicing the complete mastery over mind and body, came to a conclusion  that when the breath moves, the mind moves and when the breath stops, the mind stops.  So, whosoever wants to still the mind should bring his/her breath under complete  voluntary control.

At Swami Krishnananda Hatha Yoga Shala, Mysore, we teach Kapalbhati, Anuloma- viloma, Bhastrika, Ujjayi, Surya bhedan, Sitali, Sitkari, Pranav pranayamas with bandhas  and all the four kumbhakas.