Yoga Breathing Techniques

Many yoga breathing techniques are available that help to reduce stress, increase energy and improve health on all levels …


There is much in the way of instruction in breathing for yoga students. Most of these practices fall within the realm of that branch of yoga known as pranayama.

To find out more about pranayama, click here …

There are some basic yoga breathing techniques that everyone can do, and they can be learned quite easily.

But don’t be fooled…

These practices, although simple to perform, are powerful health-enhancers, and their practice can help to form the foundation of a very healthy life. I’ll introduce four powerful yoga breathing techniques below. But first …

The Goal of Yoga Breathing Techniques

As you’ve learned on the previous page entitled Yoga Breathing, most all of us breathe into only a small fraction of our lungs, missing out on a whole lot of potential energy known as prana. So expanding and regulating the breath is one of the primary and fundamental aims of our yoga breathing exercises.

Yogic breathing will help you to develop the maximum capacity of your lungs, activating areas that are usually inactive. Right from the beginning you should gain awareness of how restricted your breathing actually is. With a little effort and practice, you will soon notice an improvement, I assure you!

We could even call these exercises in ‘prana breathing’. Relaxation, stress relief, improved vitality and strength, and relief to many breathing problems all result form activating the lungs to their maximum capacity. Without a doubt, yoga breathing for better health is the way to go.

OK, are you ready?

A Couple Tips Before We Get Started…

Some Basic Yoga Breathing Techniques

  1. Dirgha Pranayama (Deep breathing technique)
  2. Sukha Pranayama (The easy breath)
  3. Sukha Purvaka Pranayama (The four part breath)
  4. Vyaghrah Pranayama (The tiger breath)

Dirgha Pranayama

It’s important, right from the beginning, to learn to breathe deeply and slowly in a controlled manner. This is known as dirgha pranayama (or simply, long or prolonged breathing).

The greatest amount of prana is absorbed by the nerve endings which line the lungs. Shallow breathing limits the amount of absorption, and therefore is a major cause of many of the chronic health problems that people face. The re-establishment of deep, full breathing is so important to re-gaining and maintaining good health.


Note: Do every step in a controlled and calm manner.

Sukha Pranayama

Sukha is the Sanskrit word for ‘easy’. We use this yoga breathing technique, (the easy breath) to help develop a slow and steady breathing rhythm.


Sukha Purvaka Pranayama

The Sanskrit word sukha means ‘easy or pleasant’.  Purvah refers to ‘that which precedes’. Therefore, sukha purvaka pranayama means ‘the simple breath which must be mastered before proceeding to more difficult pranayamas’.

In this yoga breathing technique, we are introduced to the four distinct stages (or functions) of the breath:

  1. The inhalation (puraka)
  2. The held-in breath (kumbhaka)
  3. The exhalation (rechaka)
  4. The held-out breath (shunyaka)


Vyaghrah Pranayama (the tiger breath)

A wonderful yoga breathing technique to help open up the lungs and improve breathing capacity is the vyaghrah pranayama, the ‘tiger-breath’. It is performed in chatus pada asana (on the hands and knees).


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