Patanjali’s eight paths of Yoga 4 = Pranayama

Traditional Yoga, as set out by patanjali in his Yoga sutras, consists of eight ‘paths’. The first five are called  bahiranga sadhana (external aids to Yoga), and the last three are called antaranga sadhana (internal aids to Yoga).

Pranayama is the fourth path and refers to breath control. The word pranayama means Prāna, life force, or vital energy, particularly, the breath, and “āyāma”, to extend, draw out, restrain, or control.

The different parts of the breath, and of pranayama practice are divided into three:

  • pūraka (to breathe in)
  • kumbhaka (to retain the breath)
  • recaka (to breathe out)

Here are two simple breathing / pranayama techniques that can form the baisis of your yoga prnayama practice:

Nadi Shodana is called the ‘cleansing breath’. I find it very calming and balancing.

Ujjayi breathing can be done throughout your Yoga practice, and indeed throughout your day.

Next, I will be covering pratyahara.

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