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Pranayama for beginners
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Pranayama for beginners

Three beginner-friendly pranayama to improve mental clarity and overall health
Representational image |Shutterstock

Yoga and pranayama are a part of self-nurturing practices that we all need to gradually adopt to our daily routine. While yoga focuses on the body’s flexibility and overall wellness, pranayama helps maintain physical fitness and tranquillity of mind.

Focus on breathing

Pranayama is a practice of conscious breathing, in which we pay extra attention to our respiration and breathing process. This helps to regulate our inner system.

In 2018, Frontiers in Human Neuroscience published a study stating that engaging in mindful, slow breathing (at a rate of 10 breaths per minute or fewer) increased comfort, relaxation, pleasantness, vigour, and alertness. Additionally, it showed a decrease in symptoms related to fear, anxiety, depression, anger, and confusion.

Focusing on your breath is the first step. “Pranayama, or yogic breathing exercises, can be beneficial for beginners to enhance overall well-being,” says Aparna Kashyap, clinical dietitian and yoga expert from Bengusarai, Bihar.

Beginner-friendly pranayama

“Start with simple techniques like deep breathing (diaphragmatic breathing): inhale deeply through your nose, expand your diaphragm, and then exhale slowly through your mouth. Focus on the breath filling your lungs,” says Kashyap.

Alternate nostril breathing (nadi shodhana) and belly breathing (ujjayi) are the two other basic pranayama anyone can start with, she adds.

While we practise these breathing exercises, our bodies and minds slow down to find an inner balance and clarity. After a pranayama session, you may feel calm, relaxed, and energetic.

Beginner’s tips

Beginners can start the pranayama journey by focusing on one type of practice.  As you become at ease, gradually introduce additional techniques, ensuring not to overwhelm yourself.  Always learn the basics from an expert. “Remember to practise pranayama in a quiet, comfortable space and consult a yoga instructor for guidance if needed,” says Kashyap.

Through regular practise, one may gain mastery over the breathing process while understanding the connection between the breath, the body, the mind, and the emotions.

Here is an infographic on three beginner-friendly pranayama suggested by yoga expert Aparna Kashyap to improve mental clarity and overall health.

Pranayama for beginners

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