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  • Jessica Humphries

Profound Pranayama: The power of breath+ 3 beginner friendly pranayama practices

In the realm of yoga, the breath has been honoured for eons. Seen as a gateway to spiritual

awakening, Pranayama, the art of conscious breathing, lies at the core of this ancient


Yogis have long believed that the breath is the conduit that connects the physical body with

the ethereal realm. It is the thread that weaves through each posture, each meditation, and

each moment of self-discovery. Western science is now opening to the same truth,

recognising the transformative power of conscious breathing in enhancing our physical,

mental, and emotional wellbeing.

James Nestor’s ground-breaking book, ‘Breath,’ sheds light on this timeless practice,

bridging the wisdom of the ancients with more modern scientific understanding. Through

his research, Nestor unveils how conscious breathing can improve lung function, reduce

stress, enhance immune response, boost cognitive abilities, and even influence gene

expression. This meeting of ancient wisdom and modern science offers a powerful

validation of the time-honoured yogic practices that have been passed down through


There are many different pranayama practices, some which you may have experienced in

your yoga classes. They range in level of difficulty, but there are many simple practices that

anyone can try at home. To experience the benefits of pranayama in your own life, here are

three simple yet potent practices. Remember – if you’re just starting out, keep your sessions

short and listen to your body.

Full Yogic Breath (Dirga Swasam Pranayama)

- Find a comfortable seat, close your eyes, and begin to tune into your body.

- Take a few slow, easy breaths as you relax.

- Place your hands on your abdomen, just below your navel.

- Inhale deeply and slowly through your nose, allowing your belly to expand fully as

you breathe into the lower lungs.

- Continue the inhalation, allowing it to rise up into your ribcage, expanding your


- Finally, draw the breath all the way up into your chest, feeling your chest and

collarbones expand.

- Exhale slowly and completely through your nose, reversing the process from the

chest, rib cage, and lower belly.

- Repeat this cycle of slow, deep breathing for as long as you like, perhaps increasing

the length of your inhalations as you become more comfortable.

Humming Bee Breath (Bhramari Pranayama)

- Find a comfortable seated position, close your eyes, and relax your shoulders.

- Take a slow breath through your nose, allowing your lungs to fill. Continue breathing

slowly and easily.

- Gently place your index fingers on your ears, covering the ear openings without

applying pressure.

- Take an easy breath in, and as you exhale simply hum.

- Notice the vibration and resonance of the sound within your body.

- Continue to breathe for several rounds.

Square Breath (Samavritti Pranayama)

- Sit comfortably and lengthen your spine as you start to notice your breath.

- Begin by inhaling slowly and deeply through your nose for a count of four.

- Hold your breath for a count of four.

- Exhale for four.

- Hold out for four.

- Repeat this sequence, maintaining the same count for each phase of the breath, for

a few rounds.

- You might like to visualise a square as you move through the practice.

- As you become more comfortable, you may like to gradually increase the count to six

or eight.

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