top of page

Ayurveda and Pranayama (Breathwork)

Updated: Apr 19

Switch yourself from fight-flight-freeze mode, to the rest-restore-relax side, and start feeling like yourself again.

Prana means "life force" and ayama means "expansion." Pranayama practices help us permeate our bodies and minds prana, with the vital force. Pranayama increases your vitality." -Veena, Saumya Ayurveda

image woman performing nadi shodhana

Explore more on the Saumya Blog, selected top Ayurveda blogs and websites to watch.

Ayurveda and Pranayama (Breathwork)

Welcome to our series: Guide to Pranayama Exercises: The Master Key for Unlocking Your Inner Peace. Before we adveture into pranayama breathing practices, we'll first take a few steps back and hike up to about 10,000 feet, for a panoramic view on yoga.

In each article in the series you will learn the necessary preparations and practices of pranayama, as well as how to estbalish an effective, enjoyable and enlightening pranayama practice in your daily life, so keep checking back. First, take a few minutes and peruse our article, Learn Diaphragmatic Breathing and Change Your Life.

Ayurveda and Pranayama (Breathwork) image mountain meadow

What is Yoga?

Before we begin exploring pranayama exercises, I invite you to rethink and reconsider the use of the term “yoga.” As it is used today in the Western parts of the world, “yoga” typically refers to asana, or postures; the physical, stress relieving relaxation techniques. Yoga studios market hatha yoga and may focus on postures. Yet, hatha yoga is a complete system and spiritual path. Yoga and Ayurveda are sister sciences and each is a path onto itself.

Let’s back up a few nore steps. What is yoga and what are pranayama breathing exercises? Yoga means union, and yoga practices help us unite the various aspects of ourselves and to be in union with life itself. Hatha yoga is one path within the vast science of yoga.

What is Hatha Yoga?

What is hatha yoga? "Ha"-meaning sun and "tha" means moon. Hatha yoga is a way to bring balance to the sun and the moon, or the channels known traditionally as Pingala and Ida, that reside in you. (More on that in another article.)


"To know about Ayurveda, contact Veenaji at Saumya Ayurveda --because when it comes to our spiritual life, it is emphasized in the ancient texts to consider what you eat, how you eat, as this supports a solid meditation practice.

Being an expert Ayurvedic doctor, and there are now very few, because it requires knowledge of the scriptures, the medicine, but it also requires a great deal of being a sadhaka. Without being a sadhaka, an Ayurvedic physician is not a true physician.

Because the medicine of Ayurveda is not simply medicine, it is much, much more than simply medicine. The name itself says it, Veda, it is the knowledge, wisdom, to know all about Ayu, life.

Life is complicated.

As one example, digestion itself is a very complex process. An Ayurvedic expert not only sees digestion from a physiological perspective, but also from a sadhana point of view.

The personality is another. There are many complex personality traits. Modern medical science cannot explain it, but an Ayurvedic doctor who is an expert--can tell you, for example, Vishuddha chakra needs to be balanced.

When you consult with Veenaji, then your body, mind, and your pranic body operate optimally and your sadhana, your spiritual life and life becomes easier, and your practice becomes enjoyable.”

--Dr. Dabral, Ph.D., Sanskrit

Ayurveda and Pranayama (Breathwork) image of ocean with moon in sky and sun on horizon

According to the ancient Yoga texts, hatha yoga is a complete system for physical and mental health and spiritual enlightenment. The practices of hatha yoga include asana (poses or postures), pranayama exercises (breathing practices), concentration (dharana) and meditation (dhyana). All aspects of hatha yoga are necessary and helpful preparations for meditation. In this article, the focus is on introducing pranayama or breathing exercises. Pranayama is the most powerful practice of hatha yoga. Read our article, Learn Diaphragmatic Breathing and Change Your Life,. The title may seem overstated, but it is not. Why is that? is breath.

“For breath is life, and if you breathe well, you will live long on earth.” - Sanskrit Proverb

How to Begin Pranayama Exercises?

First, we re-establish diaphragmatic breath. Why do I say re-establish? We came into the world with breath flowing naturally. As infants, our abdomens rise and fall rhythmically, expanding and contracting naturally with each breath cleansing the nervous system, body, and mind. If you have a puppy or a dog, you’ll notice the lower half of the belly expanding with each breath.

Over time, for most of us, our breath becomes tighter, irregular, shallow, and moves from deep diaphragmatic breathing, into the chest. Many people find themselves holding their breath without noticing it. This occurs when there is a sense of a threat or stress and now we've parked the nervous system in flight-fight on-going.

What do we experience with this breathing? Anxiety, panic attacks, fatigue, stress, and poor sleep. So, our first step is to retrain ourselves in diaphragmatic breathing. When we have re-established that natural breathing, our lives begin to change.

"When we breath diaphragmatically, how we experience life and how we approach life—comes from a place of grounded, clear, calmness. Life changing." -Veena

Learn more about pranayama (breathwork):

Ayurveda and Pranayama (Breathwork)image woman laying down breathing diaphragmatically

Prana, is the vital force of the universe, It is not the breath, but breath is the vehicle of prana. Prana, is much more subtle energy than the the breath. Yet, we begin by focusing on the observable breath which connects the body and mind.

Pranayama is the most powerful set of practices in hatha yoga because we are working directly with prana, the life force itself. When we re-establish diaphragmatic breathing, when we are guided correctly in pranayama practices by a seasoned teacher, we become conscious of breath as the connection between body and mind. Saumya Ayurveda provides pranayama exercises customized to each client for maximum benefit.

"When breath becomes conscious—then, we have found the master key for unlocking our inner peace. Now we have a direct influence on, and access to, balancing our nervous system and our state of mind transforms." - Veena, Saumya Ayurveda

Saumya Ayurveda's 3 steps for transforming your dialy life with image of woman meditating by a lake

There is a saying, "The mind is more in the body, than the body is in the mind." The Saumya 3 step meditation process shifts us from fight-flight-freeze mode, to rest-restore-relax mode. Give it a try for forty days and observe the changes. The more grounded and relaxed we are, the smoother life flows.

"The breath is the connection between the mind and body, so by training the breath, we become calm, focused, and grounded, we slow down the aging process by decreasing stress. These practices are so simple and easy to have as part of our daily life. We actually feel and look younger."

- Veena, Saumya Ayurveda

1. Learn Diaphragmatic Breathing and Change Your Life. When we re-learn to breath diaphragmatically, we move from the flight-fight-freeze mode, to rest, restore, relaxation mode from where we want and need to live.

2. Daily Guided Practices: 11 minutes in the morning and in the evening, as anchors of your daily Ayurveda routine.

"Choose a couple of practices from the routines that provide you with the greatest support. Perform them while applying our two minute meditation technique and your mundane tasks, just transformed into a mellifluous meditation. This is meditation applied to daily life." - Veena, Saumya Ayurveda

"Veena was able to help me regain my energy in just a few months and I’m feeling like my “young” self again! I love the food plan she designed for me, and all the supporting practices (am/pm routines, breathing techniques, herbs, and spice mixes) are so enjoyable to incorporate into my day. I highly recommend Saumya Ayurveda if you want to feel better and have more vitality.”

-Molly Rossini, Minnesota

woman practicing nadi shodhana

Nadi Shodhana: Alternate Nostril Breathing Guide

This pranayama practice is suitable for most everyone and balances Vata, Pitta, and Kapha. It is a practice that is particularly helpful in relieving anxiety. It reduces emotional reactivity. It is a very effective way to quickly reach a state of very profound mental and physical stillness.

To learn more, click here.

Ayurveda and Pranayama (Breathwork) is an effective, natural way to increase vitality, decrease stress, and feel like yourself again.

desktop with notepad saying client testimonials

Gauri Nagargoje, M.D.

“As a physician, I have always believed ‘Prevention is better than cure.’ In an era of spiraling health care costs, Ayurveda is the logical and natural solution.

I started working with Veena at a time when I was at the end of my tether, juggling my professional and personal aspirations. I was encouraged to pursue a steady approach to create lasting changes. Now when I see my patients, I see so many sufferings from similar symptoms related to diet and stress.

I have routed several of my patients to Saumya Ayurveda. Veena is a blessing to have such a rich resource.

I am eternally grateful to Veena for anchoring me to my present state of health and peacefulness and for helping me to embark on a path towards the balance we all are striving for. Thank you so much.”


“It is with great pleasure that I write this review! Working with Veena has remarkably changed my life – even in the places I was unaware that it demanded to be changed! Throughout the course of four months,

Veena’s gentle and succinct approach allowed me to easily refine my routines into a more structured foundation that left me feeling more in graceful governance with myself – emotionally and physically.

Not only had she brought forth awareness in how I prepare/ relate to the food I eat, but she also prescribed me wonderful herbs to help calm my anxiety, detox my liver, and heal the ugly night sweats I’ve been experiencing due to hormonal imbalances.

Lastly, her guided meditations are a great grounding force, and I have since continued to explore the euphoric benefits of Yoga Nidra.

Veena is a well of divine knowledge, and her humor and light will be eternally appreciated!”

--Rachel Monson, Wisconsin


“Working with Veena is incredible. She sees the possibilities that lay dormant in us and is so patient and kind in sharing her wisdom and tools to help birth those possibilities. As Ayurveda is a living science, it takes conviction and discipline to change habits, to live a different reality.

Veena makes navigating the changes smooth and meaningful, inspiring at every meeting, letting me know that, YES, changes are happening! Thank you, Veena. Many blessings!”

-Kyle Sangster, Minneapolis, Minnesota

antique map and compass

Discover the Saumya Ayurveda Way

Nadi Shodhana: Alternate Nostril Breathing Guide, use our guide daily, keep a journal to track your experience, and see what changes for you.

We all want to be heard, understood, and cared for as whole beings, not a set of isolated symptoms. True health is more than the absence of disease, which is why Western medicine so often leaves us feeling hopeless and unseen.

Deep down, you already know what you’re searching for: a new framework for living – one that brings your entire being back into balance. With Saumya Ayurveda, you’ll receive individualized guidance to create the physically, mentally, and spiritually vibrant life you crave.

Saumya Ayurveda provides concierge, top-notch, award-winning Ayurveda care. We strive to keep it simple, so you can focus on you! Opt for virtual consultations and we'll come to you.

Our practice model is client focused, we’re not in the retail herb business. We’ll guide you where to order herbs directly online. Our top-shelf Ayurveda oils and herbalized ghees are the best in the land and we’ll ship your care package right to your doorstep.

Our effective multi-appointment consultation packages provide you with experienced Ayurveda care, enthusiastic guidance, and inspiring support.

Explore our personalized services and book your FREE discovery call today. Psst! Our clients say it best – so read and watch our client's stories.

Ayurveda and Pranayama (Breathwork) image of Veena

Veena is a Certified Ayurvedic Practitioner and meditation teacher, and monk.

She is President Emeritus and teaching faculty of the Meditation Center.

Veena fell in love with the traditional medicine used in her family’s home, learning herbal remedies at her grandmother's knee.

These childhood experiences were the seeds of a lifelong passion. For over 30 years, Veena has dedicated her life to the world’s oldest healing system: Ayurveda.

She draws on this ancient wisdom to help others find their compass to a healthy life – and support those left wanting by Western medicine.

An experienced Certified Ayurvedic Practitioner, Veena’s deep, intuitive knowledge of Ayurveda empowers her clients to reclaim their fullest, most vibrant lives –mentally, physically, and spiritually. Veena individualizes treatment plans to each person, rather than offering a one-size-fits-all approach, so it fits your life and becomes woven in your lifestyle, naturally.

Related Posts

See All


bottom of page