Pranayama Breathing Practice

 Pranayama breath practice for 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 this yoga, 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 yoga breathing exercises.

Breath exercises for body, mind and energy

Ujjayi pranayama, Bhramari, Kaphalabati Pranayama - Breath of fire or Skull shining breath, Anuloma Viloma - Nadi shodana, Chandra Bhedana, Sitali the cooling cooling breath, Brahma mudra, Jivha bandha, Uddiyana bandha, Simha Mudra - Lions breath, Agni Sara

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 sometimes through yoga poses, but 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 yoga. Initially, we practice pranayama 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.

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. (sometimes in savasana).

Pranayama yoga for health

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. This yoga 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. Studies has shown significant influences on the parasympathetic nervous system in yoga adults performing yogic breathing as  Alternate nostril breathing. 

How do I start with Pranayama yoga?

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 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 the breathing techniques. 

4 Programs

8 weeks

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.

5 weeks
Whole30 yoga program at yogateket

Whole30 Yoga Practice Program

Are you looking to incorporate healthy movement into your lifestyle this 2019? 

We have made a special program for you who are following the Whole30 timeline. But of course, anyone can start this 30 days of yoga classes, movement, breathing, and mindfulness. 

Enjoy the classes.

1 week

Weekly Pranayama Program

Are you interested in learning pranayama? Looking to deepen an existing practice?  Wanting to get more regular with your practice?  Heard of all the great effects of working with your breath?

All of these and more are great reasons to try this program.  You can do any day of the week as an individual class, or you can cycle through the whole week.  Each class is designed to support the day it is on.

Discover all the benefits, both mental and physical of working with your breath and finding time to relax.

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


28 Classes

15 min

Kumbhaka Pranayama Class

If your exhale is good and you are feeling ready to start working with kumbhaka, this class gives a good start.

Designed for those already familiar with pranayama we introduce breath holding. We will work with the first stage of holding the breath in pranayama so that you can become familiar with it.

5 min

Kumbhaka Pranayama Tutorial

Once we have become familiar with working with our breath and have got used to doing a double length exhale, the next step is to hold our breath.

In pranayama there is a specific way of doing this, to be done with the bandhas.

This short tutorial outlines the basic fundamental points.

15 min
Pranayama in practice at Yogateket with Guy Powiecki

Nadi Shodana Beginner Class

Nadi Shodana translates as nerve cleansing. Another name for it is Anuloma Viloma. In English, we might describe as alternate nostril breathing.

Fundamental pranayama designed to bring the energy channels, the brain, and the nervous system into balance.

The foundation of pranayama.

20 min

20-Min Pranayama Practice

In this pranayama practice, we will become aware of our normal breath and slowly build up into yogic breathing by separately practicing the abdominal breath, thoracic breath, and clavicular breathing and then combine it all for a full yogic breath. Followed by which we will practice alternate nostril breathing to balance our energetic body. Allowing us to breathe more deeply by the end of  the practice and find calmness through our mind and ease in the body

20 min
Linnea ahlgren yoga Uppsala

Practice for Sleep

Good quality sleep is one of the most fundamental things to support our overall wellbeing. And yet, we seem to have forgotten how to unwind before bed-time. We toss and turn, suffering from insomnia, our minds still too agitated from the day, the inability to fall asleep often causing more stress in itself.

This short practice will assist your nervous system in switching over to parasympathetic, or “rest and digest,” mode, and hopefully be of some support in getting a good night’s sleep. 

5 min
Pranayama  with guy

What is Pranayama?

A short five minute talk about what pranayama is and how does it work.

10 min
Breathing exercises

Simple Breathing Practice

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

We are going to start with laying down for simple pranayama breathing. Before the closing of this pranayama class with a seated practice.

15 min
21 day meditation challenge

15 Minute intermediate Yoga Breathing class

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.  

We will practice different kriyas and breathing techniques like Uddiyana bandha Kriya, Agni Sara, Anuloma viloma or alternate nostril breathing, one of the most fundamental pranayamas for bringing the system and the brain into balance. The class will finish with a 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 Practice

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 Sitali, calming and soothing.

Calm and connect to your deeper self.

30 min
a photo shoot from a online yoga class at yogateket Uppsala

Deep Relaxation Practice

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 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
a photo shoot from a online yoga class at yogateket Uppsala

Bandhas Tutorial

Bandhas are one of the essential things in hatha yoga, however, they are challenging 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.