The seven types of breathing exercises, or pranayamas, in Ramdev yoga stir internal energy to foster balance, health and stress-free living. The sequence of exercises takes less than an hour and is an energizing way to start the day. During the sequence, sit in a comfortable position, wear loose clothing, keep your spine straight, let the body relax and focus on your breathing.
The First and Second Pranayamas
The first two breathing exercises of Ramdev yoga benefit the heart, lungs, brain and stomach and are especially beneficial for people who suffer from depression, migraines, stomach problems, asthma, allergies, high blood pressure and obesity. For no less than two minutes and no more than five, breathe in deeply through the nostrils, filling the lungs and stretching the diaphragm. Allow the breath to gently escape the body. Then, continue deep breathing but push the air out forcefully for so the stomach goes in. You should feel a jerk and the Adam's apple should move as you exhale. Repeat this breathing and pushing cycle for five minutes.
The Third and Fourth Pranayamas
These breathing exercises are particularly helpful for people who experience stomach ailments, prostate or urinary problems, high blood pressure, allergies, migraines, depression, pain or arthritis. During the third pranayama, touch the chin to the chest as you inhale. Hold the breath for a moment, squeezing the stomach. Exhale as you release the chin. Repeat this sequence up to five times before moving onto the forth pranayama. Next, close your right nasal with your thumb as you inhale. Then, close the left nasal and exhale through the right nasal. Repeat this sequence for 10 minutes, alternating the nostrils through which you exhale and inhale.
The Fifth and Sixth Pranayamas
The fifth and sixth exercises last for 10 minutes each and may relieve migraine pain, high blood pressure, tension, insomnia and poor concentration. During the fifth pranayama, plug your ears with the thumbs, rest the index fingers on the forehead and lay the remaining fingers over the eyes. Breathe in, then exhale through the nose while humming. For the sixth pranayama, subtly inhale and exhale using slow, long breaths. Upon exhalation, chant "om" steadily. Picture the breath moving within your body and focus on lengthen each breath you take.
The Seventh Pranayama
The final breathing exercise requires at least three meditative minutes of natural breathing. Close your eyes, remain quiet and still and breathe as you normally would. As you are breathing, focus on each inhale and exhale and relax.
Poppy Carpenter graduated from the University of Missouri School of Journalism. In addition to teaching journalism to junior high students, she also covers health and fitness for "PUSH Monthly" and Angie's List.