Pranayama: learning how to control your breath

Fit & Training door thijs

You might have heard or read somewhere that yoga is more than just the asana practice. And that's right! Classical yoga under Patanjali has 8 different limbs of yoga, and asana is just 1/8 of yoga. Let me tell you a bit more about the 8 limbs of yoga.

  1. Yama: restraints (non-harming, non-lying, non-stealing...)
  2. Niyama: observances (cleanliness, contentment, intense discipline, self study...)
  3. Asana: steady posture (pose)
  4. Pranayama: energy control (breath)
  5. Pratyahara: withdrawal of the senses
  6. Dharana: intense focus (on the breath, mantra...)
  7. Dhyana: state of meditation (focus on a object)
  8. Samadhi: state of oneness


In this article I'm focusing on the 4th limb of yoga, pranayama, which are purification practices which also begin the purely internalised practice through which we can begin to experience physical and energetic balance. The word pranayama comes from joining two words: Prana, meaning life force and all its autonomic reflexes, especially respiration, and Yama, meaning to extend, expand, restrain, or pause.

Create awareness

The techniques of pranayama provide the method whereby the life force can be activated, and regulated, in order to go beyond normal boundaries or limitations and attain a higher state of vibratory energy and spiritual development.

Pranayama does not consist only of breathing exercises. It involves the techniques of mastering the nervous system and the subtle conduits of life force, by gradually slowing down the breathing cycle with the goal to reach an ultimate state of silence by stilling the breath, and thereby the mind. Through breath control, the natural connection between breath and all physiological processes is experienced, as well as a glimpse into being who exists regardless of breath.

A few pranayama techniques are: nadi shodhana, uddiyana bandha kriya (nauli), kapalabhati, kumbhaka and bhastrika. It’s difficult to explain these breathing techniques clearly through a blogpost, so I would like to invite you to one of my breathing classes!

Breathing class

Expand your yoga practice with some breathing exercises. In this class we will talk about the 4th limb of yoga, pranayama, and we'll practice different breathing techniques such as nadi shodhana, nauli, kapalabhati, kumbhaka, bhastrika and star breathing. We will also introduce the bandhas and practice with these energy locks, mula bandha, uddiyana bandha and jalandhara bandha.

Practicing these breathing exercises will purify your body and help expand your lung capacity, which will benefit your overal yoga practice. Lets take our yoga practice to another level!

About the class

  • Thursday October 15, 2015
  • 18:30 - 20:00
  • €15 for this special class
  • Maximum of 20 spots in the studio (be quick to reserve your spot!)
  • Healthy drinks and nibbles after class

Check out my website for more info about the class and to sign up!

Hope to see you soon on Thursday October 15th.