Types of Pranayama for Beginner Yogis

A woman practicing yoga outdoor

Pranayama is the art and science of using your breathing to calm your mind. This component of yoga deals with a yogi’s spiritual and mental well-being. Consistent pranayama practice cleanses your blood and boosts your psychological and physical strength.

It is also used to prepare your body for meditation. While it may prove initially tricky for beginners, yoga meditation retreats are the best place to master pranayama. There are a few types of pranayama that can help you start out.

Here are the best pranayama types for beginner yogis.

Nadi Shodhana Pranayama

This loosely translates as alternate breathing. It helps to unlock your mind and body’s full potential. It leads to a calm mind, stress and insomnia relief and improved immunity. It also strengthens your nervous system. Your exhalation should be twice your inhalation time for an effective exercise.

Ujjayi Pranayama

This is also called victorious or hissing breath and characterized by breath sounds resembling ocean waves. The Yogi gets relief from, depression, hypertension, stress and insomnia with this breathing technique.

The exhalation and inhalation ratio is 2:1. It involves taking deep breaths by contracting your throat to produce a hissing sound.

Surya Bhedi Pranayama

This technique is also called moon and sun piercing breathing. They base this on a yogi belief that the right nostril is governed by the sun and the left by the moon. The technique involves breathing through alternate nostrils. It leads to delayed ageing and improves your immunity and digestion.

It also improves your body temperature and opens up the chest cavity. At first, the exhalation and inhalation ratio is 2:1. As you progress it changes to 1:4:2 in the order of inhalation, holding your breath and exhalation.


Samma vritti pranayama comprises of taking equal breaths. It focuses on balancing a yogi’s breathing. This is an excellent technique to relax the mind and reduce stress levels. It also increases concentration.