Energized with Pranayama

Saturday, I found a few hours to focus on Pranayama! It might seem strange; because we breathe all the time, but how often do you simply spend a few hours to really consciously breathe? If you’re normal, you probably don’t spend much time thinking about this at all.

Well, this is how I spent a beautiful sunny, start of summer, afternoon. It was a 3 hour workshop at Shakti Yoga in Bellevue with Ajayan from Ajayan.com.

I’m blogging about this so that I don’t forget the different exercises that we covered and the fact that I was totally energized after attending the class. He lectured about seven different types of breathing and I’ve tried to describe them below. He also talked about a couple hand Mudras that go along with the practice.  I’ve outlined the exercises and described a bit about the Mudras below.

Here is a great little practice that really aligns to how we started the workshop. This is from ndtvgoodtimes on Youtube called Learn to breathe correctly.

Mula Bundha

Full inhale and exhale where you squeeze the perineum on inhale and relax on exhale. The concentration on the energy flow is vertical along the spine. The breathing starts in the belly and extends up to fill the ribs

Kapala Bhati

Short, forceful exhales with effortless inhale. This is best described via a video, and it just so happens that there are many on the net. Here is one from Lindsay Fields.

Yoga Mudra

Palms together behind back and the exercise is done with leaning forward with the forehead above or resting on the ground. Squeeze the perineum during the inhale and focus your energy on the forehead center during exhale.

Here is a video showing – almost – what we did. What’s missing is the act of engaging the perineum on the enhale and the focus on the forehead center on exhale.

Nadi Sodhana

This is the alternate nostril breathing exercise. Inhale fully to start. Close one side and exhale fully and then inhale through the same nostril before switching sides. There are two common ways demonstrated during the workshop; slow and fast. The slow way should be completely quite. The fast way is a combination of Kapala Bhati breathing and Nadi Sodhana. In either case, if you become light headed, you’re forcing too much into the practice.

Shitali Mudra

This is the cooling curled tongue breathing. On the inhale, you should feel a cooling evaporation over the back of the tongue and sides of the throat. Yet, you’ll need to be conscious to not dry out to the point of coughing. The exhale is gentle through the nose.


This is the humming bee exhale where the mind melds with the sound. This is best described in a video too.  Here is one from checkmyheal on youtube.

Hand Mudras

Did a quick search for hand mudras and found a nice description of what a mudra is Yoga For Beginners from .

Mudra is Sanskrit for seal, mark, or gesture. Typically, mudras are used during meditation or pranayama as a way to direct energy flow in the body. According to yoga, different areas of the hand stimulate specific areas of the brain. By applying light pressure to these areas of the hand, you will “activate” the corresponding region of the brain.

The Mudra that stood out the most for me was the heart Chakra one that is described on the website Love and Heal.

Mudra Bend your index finger & let it touch the base of thumb. Let index & middle finger touch the tip of thumb & extend little finger. Do it with both hands close to heart chakra

The picture really does a great job describing it. 

One of the coolest things about this Mudra is that if you look at a reflexology chart, you’ll see that the index figure activates the heart region of the palm.  The middle and ring figure also represent the sinus, head and brain area and the pad of the thumb is the pituitary gland. So, bringing this energetic connection in while practicing would be a natural combination.

The fun part now is applying these exercises to my normal routine(s). Panayama should be natural and integrated into a daily practice.  J

Have a great day!