Ashtanga Pranayamas

The first two Ashtanga Pranayamas

In the first pranayama you hold your breath out 3x then you hold your breath in 3x.   On the second pranayama you take a breath and hold it in, you release that breath and hold it out.  So you are getting used to kumbhaka after each half breath — after each inhale and exhale.

Baahya benefits:

  • Balances CO2 and O2 in the body.
  • Calming and balancing to the nervous system
  • reduces digestive issues

Pranayama #1

BAAHYA KUMBHAKA — also called Antah Kumbhaka (internal) and Bahih Kumbhaka (external).

All Kumbhakas — breath holds are done with Jalandhara bandha and all 3  bandhas.

Sit in Lotus or Meditation Posture

5 deep yogic breaths with sound

1st Ashtanga Pranayama

(Rechaka) exhale (Kumbhaka) hold 12 (Puraka) inhale
(Rechaka) exhale (Kumbhaka) hold 12 (Puraka) inhale
(Rechaka) exhale (Kumbhaka) hold 12
(go directly to inhale holds)

(Puraka) inhale (Kumbhaka) hold 18 (Rechaka) exhale
(Puraka) inhale (Kumbhaka) hold 18 (Rechaka) exhale
(Puraka) inhale (Kumbhaka) hold 18 (Rechaka) exhale 

If you want to progress these increase:
Exhale holds to 16 beats
Inhale holds to 24 beats

5 deep yogic breaths with sound

Pranayama #2

(Puraka) inhale (Kumbhaka) hold 15 (Rechaka) exhale
(Kumbhaka) hold for 12

(Puraka) inhale (Kumbhaka) hold 15 (Rechaka) exhale
(Kumbhaka) hold for 12

(Puraka) inhale (Kumbhaka) hold 15 (Rechaka) exhale
(Kumbhaka) hold for 12 

To progress increase:
Inhale holds to 20
Exhale holds to 16

Wherever you stop your pranayama — remember to finish with Sitali “the cooling breath” which as at the end of all the pranayamas (that are coming!)

Sitali – This is like your ‘finishing lotus flowers’ of asana practice, wherever you stop your pranayama always end with sitali, the cooling breath.  Pranayama builds heat in our body due to breath holding (we exhale heat from our body, when we hold our breath, this heat stays in us), we want to release the heat after a pranayama session.

  • Deep Inhale through curled tongue – Hold 10 counts – Slow exhale through your nose
  • Deep Inhale through curled tongue – Hold 10 counts – Slow exhale through your nose
  • Deep Inhale through curled tongue – Hold 10 counts – Slow exhale through your nose

5 deep yogic breaths

Pranayama handout I received from Nancy when I first started learning Pranayama — it’s the first 3 pranayamas.

End with pranayama closing chant:  pranayama closing

 

Comments are closed.