Pranayama is the yogic term given to the many different variations of breathing exercises that are another form of meditation. There are different ways to inhale and exhale (through the mouth or nose), sometimes you might hold the breath in or out, and there are different ways to pace your breathing. All of these elements (and more) are used for specific energetic effects. Focusing on your breathing is a pathway to your subconscious mind and pranayama is a powerful tool for clearing out the subconscious mind.
Basic Alternate Nostril Breathing:
a simple and powerful calming exercise. Start by blocking your right nostril with your right thumb. Inhale through your left nostril. Then release your thumb and block your left nostril with your right ring finger. Exhale through your right nostril. Inhale through your right nostril, then switch your fingers again- release your ring finger, block your right nostril with your right thumb. Exhale through your left nostril. That is one round. Try to do 5 rounds, inhaling and exhaling for a count of 5 each. Complete 5 rounds or more. This pranayam balances the left and right hemispheres of the brain and resets your mental and emotional states.