Plavini Pranayama (Floating Breath): Steps, Benefits, and Precautions

The word “Plavini” refers to something that floats or remains afloat. In the context of pranayama, it signifies the ability to create a floating or buoyant sensation within oneself through the breath.  “Pranayama” is a compound word consisting of “prana” and “ayama.” “Prana” represents the life force energy or vital energy that permeates all living beings, and “ayama” means extension or expansion. Thus, pranayama denotes the practice of extending or regulating the breath to control and enhance pranic energy.

“In plavini pranayama, the body feels buoyant, like a lotus leaf floating effortlessly on the water. When the abdomen is filled with air, the 7 Kandas and the 14 primary Nadis of the body are purified with light.” – Sri Amit Ray

Like a lotus leaf floating gracefully on the deepest waters, the body finds buoyancy when the belly is filled with air and the inner space is saturated with breath. In this harmonious union of air and body, we discover a sense of lightness, as if defying gravity itself. Embrace this profound connection and let your spirit soar, carried effortlessly by the currents of life’s deepest depths.

In combination, “Plavini Pranayama” refers to a specific pranayama technique in which the practitioner swallows air and expands the abdomen, aiming to create a sensation of floating or buoyancy within the body. This technique is believed to activate the Manipura (solar plexus) chakra and increase the flow of prana in the body.

Plavini Pranayama is one of the 8 Classical Pranayamas mentioned in Hatha Yoga Pradipika. The eight yoga Pranayama techniques are: Surya Bhedana, Ujjayi, Sitkari, Sitali, Bhastrika, Bhramari, Murcha and Plavini.

Plavini Pranayama is also known as the Floating Breath technique, is a specific pranayama practice that involves swallowing air and expanding the abdomen. Here are the steps, benefits, and precautions associated with this practice:

Steps of Plavini Pranayama (Floating Breath):

  1. Preparation: Find a comfortable seated position, either on the floor or a chair, with your spine erect and your body relaxed. Take a few moments to settle into a calm and focused state.
  2. Inhalation: Take a slow and deep inhalation through your nose, filling your lungs with air.
  3. Swallowing Air: Close your mouth and swallow the air in your mouth down into your stomach. Imagine the air filling your abdomen, causing it to expand gently.
  4. Upon completing a deep inhalation, you may engage Jalandhar Bandha (Chin to chest lock) to retain the breath within the belly, based on your capacity. The Jalandhar Bandha is not compulsory. This retention allows the air to permeate into the intestines, causing the organs within the abdomen to expand and become filled.
  5. Retention: Hold the swallowed air in your stomach for a few seconds. You can mentally count the seconds or hold the breath for as long as it feels comfortable for you. Start with a shorter duration and gradually increase it over time.
  6. Exhalation: Open your mouth slightly and exhale the air slowly and smoothly. Feel the release of the air from your abdomen, allowing it to return to its natural position.

Repeat these steps for several rounds, focusing on the sensations and the feeling of floating or buoyancy within your body.

Benefits of Plavini Pranayama:

  1. Activates Manipura Chakra: Plavini Pranayama is believed to stimulate and energize the Manipura (solar plexus) chakra, which is associated with personal power, confidence, and vitality.
  2. Calms the Mind: By consciously regulating the breath and focusing on the technique, Plavini Pranayama can help calm the mind, reduce anxiety, and promote relaxation.
  3. Enhances Digestion: This practice involves expanding the abdomen, which can massage the internal organs and improve digestion.
  4. Increases Awareness of Breath: By practicing Plavini Pranayama, you develop a heightened awareness of your breath and its connection to your physical and energetic body.
  5. Cultivates Breath Control: Through the deliberate control and manipulation of the breath, Plavini Pranayama helps develop breath control, which can have a positive impact on overall well-being and mental clarity.

Precautions for Plavini Pranayama:

  1. Start Gradually: If you are new to pranayama or have any respiratory conditions, it is advisable to start slowly and gradually increase the duration and intensity of the practice.
  2. Listen to Your Body: Pay attention to any discomfort or strain during the practice. If you experience dizziness, shortness of breath, or any other adverse effects, discontinue the practice and consult a qualified yoga instructor or healthcare professional.
  3. Seek Guidance: It is recommended to learn Plavini Pranayama under the guidance of an experienced yoga teacher who can provide proper instructions and modifications based on your individual needs and limitations.

By practicing Plavini Pranayama with mindfulness and respecting your body’s limitations, you can enjoy the potential benefits of this technique while ensuring your safety and well-being.