Take a Deep Breath
The Family Guide to Natural Medicine has this version of Pranayam in its chapter on The Art and Science of Relaxation –
• Sit upright or lie on your back in a relaxed position with your spine straight.
• Breathe in slowly through your nose and imagine that you are pushing that air deep into your abdomen.
• Note how your abdomen expands and rises as the lungs fill with air.
• Breathe out slowly through your nose, contracting your abdominal muscles to press the diaphragm up and push the air out of your lungs.
• Continue breathing in this way, watching how your abdomen rises and falls.
A stimulating variation:
• Inhale, following the technique described above. Hold that breath for a few seconds.
• Pretend you have a straw between your lips, and blow out a small amount of air with force. Then pause.
• Continue to blow small bursts of air until you have exhaled completely.
Pranayam is experiencing a resurgence in popularity in India with the efforts of yoga leaders like Baba Ramdev.