Pranayama exercises – breathing as the key to health and peace

Breathing exercises not only keeps us alive, but can also serve as a powerful tool for improving physical and mental health. Pranayama exercises are the key to unlocking these benefits. In this article, we explore pranayama exercises as a path to better health and inner peace.

Breathing exercises – the basics

Pranayama, known as the fourth element of yoga, is more than just simple breathing exercises. It is a science of controlling the power of the mind through breath regulation. Pranayama, made up of two words: “prana”, meaning breath, and “ayama”, which signifies expansion, length, growth, opens up the possibility of influencing our inner force, also known as prana. In the context of yoga, prana is not just breath, but also physical forces such as light, heat, magnetism, and energy, highlighting the ability of pranayama practices to develop breath control and improve mental well-being.

What’s more, it is believed that strong pranayama breath can help in detoxifying the body. This demonstrates how deeply pranayama affects not only our mind but also our body.

The practice of pranayama consists of three phases: Puraka, which is inhalation, Kumbhaka – breath retention, and Rechaka, which is exhalation. Each of these phases has its significance and purpose in the practice of pranayama, supporting both physical and mental aspects of health.

Personally, I believe that the practice of pranayama is not only an excellent way to improve physical fitness, but above all to calm the mind and find inner peace. In today’s fast-paced world, where stress has become our daily companion, pranayama offers a simple yet powerful method to regain control over our own body and mind. Regular practice of these breathing techniques can bring significant benefits, positively impacting our lives in many aspects.

Health benefits of Pranayama

Pranayama techniques, such as bee breath and chanting mantras, can lower high blood pressure, reducing the risk of heart disease, strokes, or peripheral vascular disease. Regular pranayama practice effectively reduces stress, which directly improves cardiovascular health.

Pranayama also brings benefits in fighting psychosomatic disorders, which affect both the mind and body. Breathing exercises can help manage conditions such as migraines, ulcers, or psoriasis, connecting the body and mind through conscious Breathing exercises. Therefore, pranayama is not only a method for improving physical fitness but also a tool supporting mental health.

Breathing exercises

Does the practice of pranayama effectively regulate emotions?

During a conference in Germany, Gurudev Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, the founder of the Art of Living Foundation, shared his knowledge about the relationship between breath and our emotions. He pointed out that each emotion has its corresponding breathing pattern. While directly controlling our emotions may be difficult, through working with our breath, we have the ability to influence our feelings.

Understanding the rhythm of our breath allows us to better control our minds and deal with negative emotions such as anger, jealousy, or greed. Moreover, pranayama opens the path to a genuine smile flowing straight from the heart. This shows how deeply our breath is intertwined with the inner world of feelings and how through mindful breathing, we can achieve a state of greater emotional balance.

Pranayama Exercises – Five Pranayama Techniques

If you are looking for a way to calm a mind full of thoughts and worries, pranayama offers simple yet powerful breathing techniques. You can practice them at any time of day, but it is best on an empty stomach to fully harness their potential.

The Breath of the Buzzing Bee (Bhramari pranayama)

This is one technique worth trying when you need instant relief. Is your mind filled with incessant thoughts? Can’t stop thinking about what someone said to you? Find a serene place and engage in the practice of Buzzing Bee Breath.

It involves taking a deep breath, and then making a sound resembling a buzzing bee during exhalation. This breathing technique is especially recommended for people with hypertension and those struggling with insomnia. Practising this breath not only calms the mind, but also helps to soothe the body, preparing it for deep rest.

Watch this film to learn how to perform Pranayama exercises on your own.

Breath of the Shining Skull (Kapalbhati pranayama)

The Breath of Shining Skull, also known as Kapalbhati pranayama, is one of the most effective breathing techniques for detoxifying the body and cleansing the energy channels. It is also believed to strengthen intuition and promote natural weight loss. This technique involves passive inhalation and active, energetic exhalation. It is recommended not to practice this technique in the evening. There are certain contraindications to using Kapalbhati, so it is worth familiarising yourself with them before starting the practice.

Pranayama exercises of the Shining Skull Breath not only support the body’s detoxification process but also help to brighten the mind, bringing a sense of lightness and clarity of thought. Regular practice of Kapalbhati can have a positive impact on overall health, increasing energy levels and improving concentration. It is a powerful tool worth incorporating into your daily exercise routine to achieve better well-being and harmony of body and mind.

Watch this movie to learn how to do it.

Breath of Mieszko (Bhastrika pranayama exercise)

Energise your vibrations and calm your mind. It’s like a “yogic cappuccino”! This technique is best practised during the day, unless you’re planning a long night of alertness. However, it’s important to remember certain contraindications before starting Bhastrika practice.

Mieszko’s breath acts like a natural energy boost, stimulating the body and mind to action. This is especially useful when we feel tired or indifferent. Regular practice of Bhastrika not only improves concentration but also contributes to deeper purification of the respiratory tract, which is an additional advantage for those seeking ways to improve their overall health. Remember to adjust the intensity of the practice to your level of advancement and current health condition.

Watch the video below to learn how to do it.

Ocean Breath (Ujjayi pranayama)

The Ocean Breath, also known as the Victorious Breath, is an effective way to control an abundance of thoughts. When practising this technique, we create a sound in the throat resembling snoring, both during inhalation and slow exhalation. Many people use the Victorious Breath while practising asanas, or physical yoga positions.

This breathing method not only helps to focus the mind but also deeply calms and relaxes the entire body, creating a sense of inner peace and harmony. Ocean Breath also increases awareness of the body and mind, which is crucial during the practice of asanas. Using this breathing technique can significantly improve the quality of yoga practice, allowing for a deeper and more mindful experience of each posture.

Watch this movie to find out how it’s done.

Alternate Nostril Breathing (Nadi Shodhan pranayama)

Are you having trouble concentrating on the task at hand? Try doing five to nine rounds of alternate nostril breathing. This technique involves breathing through one nostril at a time, following a specific pattern. Afterward, you can also practice a brief guided meditation to further enhance your clarity and focus.

Alternate Nostril Breathing is considered one of the most important pranayama techniques that helps calm and focus the mind. It harmonises the left and right hemispheres of the brain, which are responsible for our logical and emotional sides respectively. By breathing alternately through the nostrils in this specific pattern, we are able to balance the functioning of both brain hemispheres. For yogis, this is a favourite method due to its immediate calming effects and preparation for meditation.

Watch the video below to learn how to do it.

Pranayama exercises – tips for practicing

Wear loose or stretchy clothes to feel comfortable and relaxed. Find a comfortable sitting position, and if needed, use props for better support. Establish a regular practice – preferably daily or a few times a week, dedicating 15-20 minutes to it. Practice in a well-ventilated room that is clean and free from distracting elements. Try to always practice in the same place and at the same time. If the weather permits, you can also practice pranayama outside. Avoid practicing near a fan or air conditioning, as it can disrupt the flow of prana and distract you.

Carry out your daily practice on an empty stomach. It is also recommended to empty your bowels before more intense exercises. Focus your attention on feeling your breath during practice. If you experience any pain, tension, or weakness in your body, concentrate on relaxing that area and directing your breath towards it. Proceed slowly and methodically – a calm and systematic practice is key to progress and fully integrating the effects of pranayama.


Pranayama exercises, going far beyond ordinary breathing practice, reveal to us an incredibly effective tool for achieving physical health, emotional balance, and deep inner peace. Through conscious and controlled breathing techniques, pranayama allows access to our inner strength and life energy, opening the way to self-discovery and self-healing.

Offering a wealth of techniques, from the Breath of the Buzzy Bee to Alternate Nostril Breathing, pranayama proves that breath is a powerful connector between body and mind, capable of transforming our life experience. By incorporating a regular pranayama practice into our daily routine, we can not only improve our physical condition but also achieve a state of deep relaxation and focus, essential in today’s fast-paced and often stressful world.

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