“Pranayama” means much more than “breath control.” The breath is an indirect way to control prana, life force, but in Ananda Yoga, we learn to bring prana under our direct control. This vital skill will improve your health, vitality, and effectiveness in daily activities, as well as quicken your spiritual growth.

Paramhansa Yogananda’s system of Energization Exercises is a powerful tool for learning to vitalize the body and bring the life force under your control. We use a variety of breath-control practices to control prana in additional ways; you will find many of them below.

The Energization Exercises of Paramhansa Yogananda


Detailed Instruction

Guided practice (slower pace)

Guided practice (medium pace)

Guided practice (faster pace)

Basic Pranayama Breathing Techniques


Pranayama Guidelines

Breath of Joy

Chandra Bheda Pranayama I—Lunar Breath

Diaphragmatic Breathing

Dirgha Pranayama I—Full Yogic Breath Flow

Dirgha Pranayama II—Full Yogic Breath Flow

Double Breathing

Even-Count Breathing

Nadi Shodhanam I—Alternate Nostril Breathing

Sitali Pranayama—Cooling Breath

Sitkari Pranayama—Hissing Breath

Surya Bheda Pranayama—Solar Breath

Ujjayi Pranayama—Victorious Breath

Special Uses of Pranayama

Traditionally, most pranayama breathing techniques are used primarily to quiet the breath, and calm, focus, and internalize the mind, as a prelude to meditation. However, these techniques also have additional, specialized uses, as indicated below.


Better Breathing in Meditation & Pranayama

Breathing Technique Basics

Increase Energy & Decrease Tension

Reduce Stress, Nervousness & Anxiety

Relieve Minor Depression

Calm the Turmoil of Emotions

Overcoming Insomnia

Improve Concentration

Increase Spiritual Perception

Warm-Ups for Pranayama and Meditation Practice

For Pranayama Practice

To energize and relax the body, and open up your breathing.