Teach Me How To Do Yoga: A Beginner’s Guide to Pranayama

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Pranayama is a Sanskrit term that translates to “breath control.” It’s the yogic practice of controlling your breath in order to work with your mind and body. But don’t worry, you don’t have to be a yogi or even religious! Pranayama can be done by anyone, at any time, (and it doesn’t involve chanting), as long as you’re willing to follow the steps outlined below.

What is Pranayama, anyway?

Pranayama is the practice of breathing. It’s a part of yoga and can help you with your yoga practice, but it also has benefits for other aspects of your life. Pranayama means “breath control” or “vital energy control,” and it’s been around since ancient times. Practicing pranayama can help you relax, calm your mind, and even attain enlightenment!

It’s important to remember that pranayama isn’t just about controlling your breathing; it involves conscious regulation of breath through specific techniques that are more than simply taking deep breaths or exhaling forcefully. These techniques will gradually teach you how to breathe more deeply than normal without necessarily increasing effort levels at first (though later on in this guide we’ll talk about how you can get really good at breathing deeply).

There’s no one size fits all when it comes to breathing.

There are many different types of breathing practices, and no one size fits all.

The first step to choosing the right breathing practice for you is finding out what works best in your everyday life. Most people who regularly practice yoga will have their own methods they prefer to use, but if you’re just starting out, this can be a daunting task! Here are some general tips:

  • Go with what feels natural and comfortable. If stretching your lungs feels like an impossible feat, try something else. Some people favor a slow inhale-exhale pattern; for others, it’s faster breaths that get them going (or does nothing at all). You’ll know when it clicks because it will feel natural and easy for you—like riding a bike or brushing your teeth.
  • The breath should be smooth and even throughout the entire process—this means that there shouldn’t be any pauses between inhales/exhales or stops that disrupt the flow of air coming into/out of your nostrils as well as mouth (a common mistake). Try counting “one” on each exhale until there is no more breath left inside before starting up again with another one!

Let’s get started!

Before we get started with pranayama, let’s take a look at why it’s important.

Pranayama is a form of yoga breathing. It’s used to calm your mind, improve your overall health and help you to relax. There are many different kinds of pranayama, but the purpose is always the same: to bring more oxygen into your body and slow down your heart rate.

If you’re new to yoga or meditation in general, then this might be difficult for you at first. But don’t worry! With practice comes mastery and soon enough all that deep breathing will come naturally!

Free Your Breath.

What is Pranayama?

Pranayama is the ancient practice of breath control. It’s an integral part of yoga, and it’s meant to help you quiet your mind and focus on yourself. The word pranayama comes from two Sanskrit words, “prana” and “ayama,” which mean life force energy and extension respectively. So when you practice pranayam, you’re expanding your life force energy by controlling your breathing to keep it calm and steady.

The Benefits of Pranayama

Outside of helping with meditation, there are many other benefits that come with practicing this technique:

  • Improves circulation: By relaxing muscles in the neck or abdomen during deep breathing exercises like ujjayi breath (see below), blood flow increases throughout the body, which can help improve circulation overall. This has been linked to lower blood pressure levels as well as increased mental clarity because more oxygen is being delivered throughout the brain via increased heart rate during exercise sessions such as running or cycling outdoors during summer months when temperatures are high enough outside so that people often opt for sweating profusely instead!

Ujjayi Breath.

Ujjayi breath, or “victorious breath” in Sanskrit, is a type of breathing that is used during many yoga practices. Ujjayi breath is performed by making the breath sound like ocean waves crashing onto the shore through your nose and mouth. Breath is typically taken through the nose but can also be taken through the mouth if you are at an advanced level.

The technique for ujjayi breathing can be broken down into two parts: inhalation and exhalation (breathing out). The inhalation should be done with a “haaaahhhh” sound, while exhaling should be done with a “ssssshhh” sound. The inhale should last twice as long as the exhale—in other words if it takes you four seconds to breathe in and four seconds to breathe out then your total count would be eight seconds per breath cycle (two inhales/exhales). You should always keep an eye on this ratio so that you don’t shortchange yourself on either side of your cycle by taking too short or too long breaths!

Nadi Shodhana.

Nadi Shodhana, or alternate nostril breathing, is one of the most popular pranayama techniques. This type of breath practice helps to clear the energy channels in your body, known as nadis. To do this, take a deep inhale through both nostrils and then exhale through one at a time by closing off the other nostril with your thumb or ring finger (this will be explained later). Repeat for about 5-6 breaths, focusing on the sound that comes from each inhale and exhale.

This technique also has numerous health benefits including improving concentration levels and reducing stress levels while increasing oxygen levels in your blood stream.

Three Part Breath.

In this section, we’ll learn how to perform the Three Part Breath. Like most of the breathing exercises in yoga, this one is intended to help you achieve a more relaxed state of mind, body and spirit. To do it:

  • Begin by sitting with your spine straight, either on a chair or on the floor with your legs straight out in front of you. Then place your hands palms up on top of one another at chest level with just enough room between them so that they are comfortable when inhaling and exhaling
  • Inhale through your nose until you feel like there’s no air left in your lungs; then exhale through pursed lips and slowly count to five while drawing the corners of your mouth inward toward each other
  • Repeat step two six times total—that’s three times for each part! When finished with these six breaths (three sets), take a break before repeating all over again


Kapalabhati is a cleansing breath exercise that helps to remove mucus from your lungs and is said to be good for your digestive system. It can also help you lose weight and fight depression, anxiety and stress.

It’s easy to learn how to do kapalabhati because all you need to do is contract your abdominal muscles as if trying not to burp, then exhale forcefully through your nostrils while pushing the air back out with quick breaths that are forceful but controlled. This can be repeated quickly in succession until you feel like you’re unable to continue without taking a break (or passing out).

Kapalabhati can be used as a warm up for other yoga practices or done on its own before starting work in the morning. Many people find this practice quite invigorating and recommend starting with just 10 repetitions of each cycle before building up over time as desired/needed!

Learn how to practice the basic kinds of yoga breathwork (pranayama).

Pranayama is the practice of breath control, and it can be used for many different purposes. When you practice pranayama, you are working with the energy that comes from your breath to help relax, focus, energize, or even aid in stress relief or depression.

To understand how pranayama works, think about how your body feels when it’s tired—or when you feel on edge from being stressed out. These feelings can be caused by a lack of oxygen in your body. As we breathe more deeply into our lungs during yoga practices like Pranayama (the Sanskrit word for “breath”), we bring more oxygen into our system and allow this powerful energy source to fill us up entirely with revitalizing energy and positivity!

In order to achieve these benefits through breathing exercises like Pranayama, however—we need some guidance! The good news is that there are many different types of exercises within Pranayama that will help improve both physical health as well as mental wellbeing:


So there you have it! We’ve covered all the basics of how to do yoga breathwork (pranayama), and hopefully you now feel confident enough to give it a try. Remember that this is just a starting point: there are many other types of breathing exercises that can be found in different styles of yoga, and all types of people will find something that works for them. With so much variety out there, it’s never too late!