Pranayama Breathing

Breath control to balance your body, mind, and energy

The word “pranayama” is a Sanskrit compound, consisting of “prana” meaning “breath; life force” and “ayama”, “control” or “ayāma”, “extend, draw out” (linguists are still debating the latter part of the compound). Pranayama is thus alternately translated as “breath control” or “extension of life force”. Both meanings are present in the technique of Pranayama, which is a way to balance your life force or energy through your breath. The earliest mentions of Pranayama can be found in the Baghavad Gita (written somewhere between 500 and 200 BCE).

For more thorough descriptions of the practice itself, Patanjali’s collection of aphorisms Yoga Sutra (compiled prior to 400 CE) and Svami Svatmarama’s yoga manual Hatha Yoga Pradipika (fifteenth-century CE) are the oldest Hindu sources. In Yoga Sutra, Pranayama is identified as the fourth limb of Patanjali’s eightfold path towards enlightenment. In Hatha Yoga Pradipika, different techniques of Pranayama are defined and described. This later source is the one that mostly influenced the modern yoga practice of breathing exercises.

Most yoga schools today use Pranayama as part of their practice. Though most use it merely as an addition to their regular routine of postures and very few understand its full complexity. In modern yoga we give much more attention to physical postures but in pre-modern yoga in India, it was prāṇāyāma that was given the highest importance.

Hatha yoga uses the body as a tool for energetic and psychological transformation. The most profound and effective way of doing that is through the breath and the techniques of pranayama. Some old texts see pranayama breathing as preparation for deep meditation while others see it as a way to go to full liberation on its own.

There are several different types of Pranayama. Initially, we practice more of the calming ones that bring our nervous system into a state of health and balance. We must develop a strong foundation before we start working with more stimulating pranayamas and beginning the process of energetic transformation.

Pranayama should be taken seriously, we are working with our nervous system which in turn has an effect on nearly every other system in the body. In today's overstressed, fast-paced world, pranayama, done correctly, is a great tool to counter the effects of stress. Pranayama can help with your energy levels, your digestion, the health of your cells, your mood, your ability to concentrate, your ability to relax, your heart rate, your breath function and a lot more.

For holistic health, it is one of the best things you can do. But even more importantly it will help reveal a deeper understanding of reality to one who is patient and committed. At Yogateket, we offer Pranayama as a separate practice in which you can go deeply into it. It’s also a part of our Meditation, Hot 26, Ashtanga Vinyasa, Hatha yoga and Vinyasa flow classes.

Here you can find simple and accessible pranayama breathing classes to more longer in depth with more advanced breathing techniques. We recommend you to start with our Pranayama level 1 program. Anytime when you are unsure about a breathing technique you can watch one of the tutorials were we explain in depth how to perform. 


Possible Benefits of Pranayama

·             Reduces stress and anxiety
·             Relaxes the muscles
·             Clears nasal passages
·             Improves pulmonary function
·             Lowers blood pressure
·             Boosts and stimulates the immune system
·             Assists in steadying the mind, strengthening willpower

2 Programs

8 weeks
pranayama

Pranayama Program Level 1

Pranayama is a profound practice. It has a whole host of health benefits and is probably one of the most effective tools there is for holistic health. It works primarily on the nervous system, and through that, it has an influence on pretty much every other system in the body. It can improve your digestion, give you a slower and more even heartbeat, bring greater mental calm, give you more energy, help you deal with the effects of stress, improve your cardiovascular fitness, improve the health of all your organs and much more.


Pranayama needs regular practice and commitment to start being internalized and genuinely felt. This eight-week program is the perfect place to begin your relationship with pranayama. Helping you develop a regular practice and introducing different techniques at the appropriate times. There is a new class for each week. Ideally, you would do this class every day of the week, but indeed as many days as you can. There is also an introductory video for the start of each week, where we will go over new techniques and themes.

3 weeks
Updog in nature Uppsala Pranayama breathing

Yoga Therapy

Accessible for everyone.  Designed to alleviate suffering from postural problems, neck and back pain, or life on the computer.  The course can also be a good place for beginners to start or for anyone wishing to dive into the foundation of their practice.


We use a lot of simple spinal twists and bends.  The aim is to work on spinal mobility and to start to correct postural imbalances, allowing free movement and spinal health.


Core strengthening exercises are introduced.  Often posture problems manifest due to a weakness in the core.  Your core will be strengthened in the appropriate places.


1 Challenge

1 week
Ashtanga-vinyasa meditation

Step Out Of Your Yoga Comfort Zone

This week one-week long yoga challenge is meant to be a tool to grow and transform and help you to step out of your "yoga" comfort zone. 
If you are not a yogi that are trying out new classes and teachers regularly, this might be challenging but at the same time super rewarding. 
In seven days you will try six teachers and five different styles of yoga.

“When was the last time you did something for the first time.” Anonymous

 

22 Classes

10 min

Simple Pranayama

Suitable for everyone. Use this class to begin your relationship with your breath.
15 min

15 Minute Pranayama

This short pranayama class packs a lot in. The first exercises focus on the health of the digestive system and the free flow of energy, letting go of tension in the abdomen.  


The middle part of the class is Nadi Shodhana or alternate nostril breathing, one of the most fundamental pranayamas for bringing the system and the brain into balance.  We finish with very calming brahmari pranayama.


Easy and very beneficial for your physical and mental health.


20 min

Let Your Breath Free

Inspired by Free Diving, great health benefits for anyone.  Simple stretches are done with the breath held. Increase the elasticity of your rib cage and the expansion of your chest. Improve your breath holding ability.


30 min

Pranayama for Stress, Anxiety and Depression

Pranayama breathing works at bringing the bodies internal energies into balance. In a simple way, we could understand this by saying it brings the nervous system into balance.


Some pranayamas are more soothing and calming.  In this class, we use the ones that are mostly designed to help soothe an overexerted nervous system - Chandra Bhedana, Sitali (Sitkari), and Ujjayi pranayamas.


Take some time with this ancient art to help yourself back to a positive balance.


15 min

To the Point Pranayama

A simple 15-minute pranayama class, accessible for anyone.  We begin by developing the connection to the exhale.  The most grounding calming part of the breath.

Once connected the traditional pranayama begins with Shitali, calming and soothing.

Calm and connect to your deeper self

30 min

Deep Relaxation

The purpose of this class is real, deep relaxation.  Nourishing your nervous system and replenishing your energy.


We use a mixture of simple meditation and hatha yoga techniques, including some kriyas (which are defined as cleansing exercises - cleansing to the nervous system).


By working with our bodies with an intelligence and understanding of the nervous system we can all bring ourselves to deep relaxation.

20 min

Back to Balance - With Pranayama

A mixture of breathing techniques to balance your nervous system, your brain and your energy. Accessible to all.


We start with some grounding breath exercises lying on your back. Then we introduce Nadi Shodana or the Alternate Nostril Breath. This is one of the most fundamental and balancing pranayama techniques.


The class ends with Brahmari (the bee) pranayama, soothing and calming.

10 min

Pick Me Up Kapalabhati

Invigorate your system and switch on your energy.


A short energizing pranayama class that starts with Simha mudra (Lion pose) continuing with Jivha bandha before finishing off this short class with Kapalabathi. Perfect to do first thing in the morning. 


Contraindication: Do not do this class while pregnant or during your menstrual cycle.

10 min

Anuloma Viloma or Nadi Shodana

The most appropriate description in English would be alternate nostril breathing. 

Nadi Shodana translates as nerve cleansing, and this gives you an idea of the effects.

This is one of the most classical pranayamas and is used to bring the hemispheres of the brain, the nervous system and the major energy channels (nadis) into balance.

A foundational practice for pranayama.

5 min
Pranayama with Guy Powiecki

Chandra Bhedana Pranayama

Chandra means moon, and this is the moon channel activating pranayama. One of the most nourishing, most calming pranayamas there is.


Excellent practice for pregnant women or women on their cycle (done instead of Surya Bhedana).

5 min

Brahma Mudra Tutorial

This is a simple practice to relieve tension around the neck, jaw and upper back. It also affects the nerves and muscles of the eyes.

The practice should not be done just mechanically but with full awareness, in this was it also becomes a meditation exercise.

Accessible and therapeutic.
5 min

Sitali Tutorial

The name Sitali means the one that cools. Air is drawn in through the tongue and exhaled out of the nostrils, and this gives a cooling effect.

It is said to remove excess acidity, inflammation, and heat from the body. For those familiar with Ayurveda, it removes excess pita.

It helps with the control of hunger and thirst, bringing a fine calm to the mind.
10 min

Ujjayi Tutorial

Ujjayi translates as victorious. The chief characteristic of this pranayama is the slight hissing noise created by partially closing the glottis of the throat. Familiar to many yoga practitioners.

However, full Ujjayi pranayama is more than just the sound, involving a further technique. Helpful for vata imbalance and very calming to the nervous system.

Skill in Ujjayi is helpful for all other pranayamas.
10 min

Office Breathing Break

This is a short ten-minute breathing exercise designed to be easily done in the office. But you don’t have to be in the office to benefit from doing it! It’s simple and accessible to anyone.

We work with breathing into the stomach, developing the belly breath. Then moving onto the three-part breath, finding space and expansion throughout the breathing mechanism.

Calming and at the same time energizing. Let go of bad breathing habits and find your best breath.

15 min

Bandhas Tutorial

Bandhas are one of the most important things in hatha yoga, however they are difficult to master. Bandha translates as lock or seal. There are three main bandhas – mula, uddiyana and jalandhara.  We use bandhas to channelize and direct energy.


In this tutorial we learn how to begin developing control of mula bandha and uddiyana bandha. They are situated around the pelvic floor, and we will discover how to connect with them. To grow in pranayama and yoga you must develop control of these muscular locks. 


The core of hatha yoga.

5 min

Jivha Bandha Tutorial

As we explore our pranayama practices, we can learn various techniques and preparatory exercises to bring us to places of more significant connection. Jivha Bandha is the counteraction to Simha Mudra (Lion's breath) when we stretch the tongue down. We are doing yoga with our tongue.

Jivha Bandha is effective at reducing tension and gripping around the mouth, jaw, and neck. It helps to calm the nervous system and develop more inner awareness. Another benefit is that Jivha Bandha reduces the production of saliva, thus allowing you to maintain higher levels of stillness and reduces the distraction of needing to swallow.

Jivha means “soul” and bandha means “internal lock“.

5 min

Simha Mudra Tutorial

A large part of pranayama practice is preparing the body and mind to allow the free flow of energy. We learn various techniques to let go of tension and stuck energy in the essential parts of the body. Often we hold tension around the face, jaw, and neck. In the many small and sensitive muscles in these areas.

This is a pranayama practice to release tension from the face, jaw, and neck. Waking up the muscles of the face and even reducing wrinkles! Soothing and Energising at the same time. Easy to do with both physical and psychological effects.

Simha means “lion,” and mudra means “gesture.”

10 min

Agni Sara - Tutorial

Agni Sara is one of the Shat kriyas (six cleansing processes). It is the counteraction to Uddiyana Bandha Kriya or Nauli. Agni means fire - we are invigorating our digestive fire.

The stomach is expanded on an exhale with the breath held out. We are giving space to our internal organs allowing the free flow of substances and energy. Very beneficial for digestion and health of the digestive organs.

Contraindication, do not do this pranayama if you are pregnant or on your menstrual cycle.

15 min
Pranayama

Kapalabhati - Tutorial

Kapalabhati means shining skull. One hypothesis is that it is cleansing for the frontal part of the brain. It is actually a Kriya rather than a pranayama and a prerequisite for Bhastrika.

It is a fundamental Hatha Yoga technique. Many benefits especially respiratory health, clearing mucus and activating of energy.

Contraindication, do not do this pranayama if you are pregnant or on your menstrual cycle.

10 min

Uddiyana Bandha Kriya - Tutorial

Uddiyana Bandha Kriya also called Nauli in its full form. One of the most important exercises for health and flow of energy. We stimulate the digestive organs and the intestines, helping the health of the stomach, digestion, constipation, release of tension and toxins. Through this, we affect the well being of the whole body and mind.

Full Nauli is a difficult technique that takes time and patience. In this tutorial, we also work through the Pre-Nauli stages. We make the benefits accessible and give you the information to start in the simplest manner and gradually grow your control, working through the stages to get to the full form. The king of hatha yoga.

Free digestive congestion for the channelizing of energy.

10 min

Nadi Shodana breath

Alternate nostril breathing, or nadi shodana, is an effective way to even out the flow of energy in the body and between the two halves of the brain, bringing clarity, balance and a sense of wholeness back when we are feeling fragmented.