What is Pranayama? What Are the Stages Of Breathing Process 2023

What Is Pranayama?

The word Pranayama is composed of two words. Prana and Ayama. Pran indicates the vital life force energy, and Ayama indicates to regulation or expansion. Pranayama is the practice of improving and uplifting the life force in our body.

Pranayama is the practice that leads the breath and prana to their natural rhythm. As each organism has prana in them, it is what sets everything and even connects everything. Thus, once we ought our rhythm of prana in check, yoga results in life.

Stages Of Breathing Process In Pranayama

When we inhale and exhale air, the average respiratory cycle, we think of it as one cycle of respiration. Additionally, even this particular cycle of respiration can be broken down into four phases. Furthermore, as per Patanjali Yoga Sutras, even increasing or shortening any one of the cycles can produce a different effect on our body.

Similarly, all the steps of one respiratory cycle have their names and these are the primary component of Pranayama. To understand Pranayama, one needs to assume the breathing process thoroughly. Breathing is a method that includes these four basic steps:

Also, read Importance Of Pranayama And Breath Including Its Scientific Benefits.

Puraka (Inhalation)

The method of inhaling air gently and smoothly is known as Puraka. it is a process of forming in the air; it is supposed to be smooth and continuous. If a person should pause one or more times during the method of a single inhaling, The method might be spoken of as a broken puraka rather than as a series of Puraka.

Abhyantara Kumbhaka (Pause After Inhalation)

This stage of Pranayama consists of keeping the breath for a short while after inhalation of air. Kumbhaka consists of a planned stoppage of the flow of the air and detention of the air in the lungs, without any change of lungs or muscles or any part of the body and any incipient actions. For beginners many experiments by using remarkable force to keep such pause motionless. Quite elaborate instructions and methods have been worked out for this purpose.

Rechaka (Exhalation)

The simple method of exhalation is known as ‘Rechaka’. Furthermore, in simple pranayama termination is done without using any muscular force, as due to the recoil of alveoli and the air pressure, the air of the lungs should be released freely.

Like inhalation, it too should be stable and continuous, though often the speed of exhaling is distinctive from that of inhaling. Normally, muscular energy is used for inhaling whereas exhaling consists solely of relaxing the tensed muscles. Before-mentioned relaxing forces air from the lungs as they return to an untensed condition.

However, a person can push air out with muscular effort; so when he sits or stands erect and has his abdominal muscles under continuous control, a muscular effort may be used for both inhaling and blowing.

Especially if one deliberately smoothes the way of his breathing and holds the cycles in regular or irregular patterns, he is likely to use muscular energy at every stage, including the pauses. However, in a state of complete relaxation, one shoulder expects to be needed only for inhaling.

Bhaya Khumbaka (Pause After Exhalation)

This component is a pause after expiration, which often goes overlooked in normal physiological preparation, The fourth stage, the blank pause, completes the cycle which ends as the pause ends and a new inhalation begins.


Pranayama is a simple technique with countless benefits, and the deep-rooted science behind the pranayama reveals why this process is so effective. Therefore, it is wise to learn and practice pranayama.

Also, dispenses with the subtle life force, Thus it is significant to learn them from a proper instructor and practice them with discipline. Random experimentation with Pranayama procedures may have adverse effects.