As per the teachings of yoga physiology, the human structure is thought to encompass five distinct layers or sheaths, each corresponding to different facets of human existence. These five sheaths are identified as:

  1. Annamaya kosha: The physical body sustained by nourishment and material substances.
  2. Manomaya kosha: The domain of the mind and its cognitive processes.
  3. Pranamaya kosha: The energetic body fueled by a vital life force, known as prana.
  4. Vijnanamaya kosha: The realm of intuitive and elevated mental functions.
  5. Anandamaya kosha: The state of transcendental joy and ultimate harmony.

While these five sheaths work in harmony to constitute the entirety of the human experience, the practice of pranayama primarily engages with the pranamaya kosha. This energetic sheath is composed of five fundamental life forces collectively referred to as the “pancha pranas”: prana, apana, samana, udana, and vyana.


 It’s important to avoid practicing pranayama when you’re unwell. However, you can still engage in simpler techniques like focusing on your breath and practicing abdominal breathing while lying down in the relaxation pose (shavasana). Always pay close attention to the specific precautions recommended for each pranayama practice.

Ideal Timing:

 Imagine the best moments for pranayama being at the crack of dawn – when your body feels rejuvenated, and your mind is as clear as a morning sky with minimal thoughts. If this time isn’t feasible, another excellent slot is just after sunset.

Natural breathing 

Find comfort in a meditation posture, relax entirely. Observe natural breath, from nostrils to abdomen, without control. Witness cool inhalation and warm exhalation. Sense breath at throat, chest, and abdomen. Employ a diaphragm for efficient breathing. It expands on inhalation, promoting lung use and organ massage.

Abdominal Breathing 

Relax in shavasana. Place right hand above the navel, leftover chest. Observe breath naturally, then practice abdominal breathing. Inhale, abdomen rises; exhale, it falls. No chest or shoulder movement. Breathe slowly and deeply. Inhale, the abdomen expands without ribcage movement. Exhale, abdomen contracts. Relax and observe spontaneous breathing. bring awareness, continue same till you feel better, gently open the eyes.

Thoracic breathing 

Thoracic breathing engages mid-lung lobes, expanding the ribcage. More energy-demanding than abdominal breathing, often tied to exertion, and stress. Complementing abdominal breath aids oxygenation. Sit or lie, relax. Focus on the chest, breathe slowly. Inhale, ribs expand; exhale, contract. Breathe through the chest, no diaphragm use. Observe the natural breath. Return awareness, gently open eyes.

Here are few well known practices of pranayama :

  • Anulom vilom.
  • Sheetali pranayama.
  • Sheetkari pranayama.
  • Bhramari pranayama.
  • Bhastrika pranayama.
  • Kapalbhati pranayama.
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