Yoga Breathing Techniques
“Breath is the link between the body and mind.
If the mind is a kite the breath is the thread.
The longer the thread, the higher the kite can go.”
– Sri Sri Ravi Shankar
It’s recommended to find a specialist to guide you through a safe and enjoyable session. 🙂
Breathe Out Stress, Breathe In Joy
Did you know that we can throw out 90 percent of the toxins from our body by breathing correctly? We can learn the art of breathing right by observing new born babies. Have you seen their stomach gently rising and falling as they breathe in and breathe out? Breath is our vital source of energy. The key to healthy and happy living lies in right breathing. When we attend to our breath, it can heal us from all worries and anxieties.
Benefits Of Pranayamas
- Enhances the quantity and quality of life force
- Clears blocked energy channels
- Harmonizes the body, mind and spirit
- Boosts the immune system
- Rejuvenates the body and mind
- Slows down the ageing process
At a conference in Germany, Sri Sri Ravi Shankar explained the connect between breath and emotions, “Our breath is linked to our emotions. For every emotion, there is a particular rhythm in the breath. So, when you cannot directly harness your emotions, with the help of breath you can do that. If you are in theater, you would know that a director asks you to breathe faster when you have to show anger. If you have to show a serene scene, director would tell you to breathe softer and slower. If we understand the rhythm of our breath, we are able to have a say over our mind, we can win over any negative emotions like anger, jealousy, greed, and we are able to smile more from our heart.”
Is Your Breath Deep Or Shallow?
Most of us breathe from the chest – such shallow breathing sends a signal to the brain that all is not well – we are stressed. Alternatively, breathing from the abdomen boosts respiration, ensures a rich supply of oxygen to the brain and signals that all is well.
Observe your breath and note if it is deep or shallow.
Prana: The Breath Of Life
The ancient Indian system of yoga identified the power of breath and strove to maximize its efficiency by developing special breathing techniques. The ancient yogis discovered prana as the universal life force or energy which distinguishes the living from the dead. We get prana from food, rest, breath and by being in a calm, happy frame of mind. However, the most important source of prana is breath – when our breath stops, we die.
It was discovered that the quantity and quality of prana and the way it flows through the nadis(subtle energy channels) determines one’s state of mind.
Due to lack of attention, the energy channels in the average person may be partially blocked, making the flow of prana broken and jerky. This results in increased worry, fear, uncertainty, conflict, tension and other negative qualities. When the prana level is high and its flow is continuous, smooth and steady, then the mind is calm, positive and enthusiastic.
BASIC BREATHING METHODS
POPULAR YOGA BREATHINGS
Bhramari (Humming Bee Breathing)
Bhramari pranayama is very effective in instantly calming your mind down. It is one of the best breathing exercises to release the mind of agitation, frustration or anxiety and get rid of anger. A simple-to-do technique, can be practiced anywhere at work or home, and an instant option available to de-stress yourself.
This breathing technique derives its name from the black Indian bee called Bhramari. (Bhramari = type of Indian bee; pranayama = breathing technique)
The exhalation in this pranayama resembles the typical humming sound of a bee, which explains why it is named so.
- Instant way to relieve tension, anger and anxiety. It is a very effective breathing technique for people suffering from hypertension as it calms down the agitated mind.
- Gives relief if you’re feeling hot or have a slight headache
- Helps mitigate migraines
- Improves concentration and memory
- Builds confidence
- Helps in reducing blood pressure
Nadi Sodhana (Alternate Nostril Breathing)
Alternate Nostril breathing is a beautiful breathing technique that helps keep the mind calm, happy and peaceful by just practicing it for a few minutes. It also helps release accumulated tension and fatigue. The breathing technique is named Nadi Shodhana, as it helps clear out blocked energy channels in the body, which in turn calms the mind. It is also known as Anulom Vilom pranayama.
(nadi = subtle energy channel; shodhan = cleaning, purification; pranayama = breathing technique)
- Excellent breathing technique to calm and centre the mind.
- Our mind has a tendency to keep regretting or glorifying the past and getting anxious about the future. Nadi Shodhan pranayama helps to bring the mind back to the present moment.
- Works therapeutically for most circulatory and respiratory problems.
- Releases accumulated stress in the mind and body effectively and helps relax.
- Helps harmonize the left and right hemispheres of the brain, which correlate to the logical and emotional sides of our personality.
- Helps purify and balance the nadis, the subtle energy channels, thereby ensuring smooth flow of prana (life force) through the body.
- Maintains body temperature.
Kapalbati (Shining Skull Breathing)
Kapal = forehead; bhati = shining; pranayama = breathing technique
Here’s a very powerful breathing exercise that not just helps you lose weight but also brings your entire system into a perfect balance.
Importance of practising Kapalbati Pranayama
When you do pranayama 80 percent of the toxins in our body are released through the outgoing breath. Regular practice of Kapal Bhati pranayama detoxifies all the systems in our body. And the obvious sign of a healthy body is a shining forehead.” Kapal Bhati literally translates to ‘the shining forehead’ and this is exactly what happens with regular practice of this pranayama. A forehead that glows not just from outside but also an intellect that becomes sharp and refined.
– Dr. Sejal Shah, Art of Living Yoga teacher, explains the importance of Kapal Bhati.
- Effective in reducing weight by increasing the metabolic rate
- Clears the nadis (subtle energy channels)
- Stimulates abdominal organs and thus is extremely useful to those with diabetes
- Improves blood circulation and adds radiance to the face
- Improves digestive tract functioning, absorption and assimilation of nutrients
- Results in a taut and trimmed down belly
- Energizes the nervous system and rejuvenates brain cells
- Calms and uplifts the mind
Ujjayi (Oceanic Breathing)
Looking to simultaneously relax and energize your mind and body? Your answer may be an ancient yogic breathing technique called Ujjayi.
Ujjayi (pronounced oo-jai) is commonly translated as “victorious breath,” and has been used for thousands of years to enhance hatha yoga practice. Also commonly referred to as the “oceanic breath,” the sound that Ujjayi provides helps us to synchronize breath with movements during yoga, making the entire yoga practice more rhythmic.
Ujjayi has a balancing influence on the entire cardiorespiratory system, releases feelings of irritation and frustration, and helps calm the mind and body. With Ujjayi, there are so many benefits, providing good value for a simple practice. Here are a few benefits you may enjoy as a result of practicing the Ujjayibreath.
- Increases the amount of oxygen in the blood
- Builds internal body heat
- Relieves tension
- Encourages free flow of prana
- Regulates blood pressure
- Helps yoga practitioner to maintain a rhythm while they practice
- Builds energy
- Detoxifies mind and body
- Increases feelings of presence, self-awareness, and meditative qualities
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