Breathing Exercises

THE Relationship Blog


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The breath is the basis for life. We breathe in life and exhale waste. When we really start focusing on breathing, we realize all the things we do related to the breath and emotions. There is the gasp of surprise. There is the sigh which is a long exhalation. There is the panic hyperventilation. There is the yawn when bored or tired which is a deep inhalation.  There is the deep breath when washed over with relief. All of these are based on breathing.

Today we are going to focus on a different form of breathing. Pranayama is a Sanskrit word that is formed from Prana meaning ‘breath’ or ‘vital energy’ and Ayama which means ‘control’. In yoga this is as important as proper posing. Pranayama helps you attain different levels of awareness. In the most basic form, pranayama is a form of relaxation that increases oxygen to the brain and promotes clearer thinking.

Nadi Shodhana (Nadi means channel and Shadhana means cleansing) is a simple form of practicing pranayama. It is simply nostril breathing. Nostril breathing is one form of Pranayama that is used to clear energies so that prana- or life force- can flow. The best part is that you can do this anywhere!

1. Get comfortable. If you are sitting, make sure that you are sitting upright, posture is everything when taking deep breaths.

2. Now take your right hand and make the O.K. sign with your index finger and thumb.

3. Place your thumb next to your right nostril and your index finger against your left nostril (essentially shutting it).

4. Inhale deeply with your right nostril (at least a 5 count).

5. Now, use your thumb to press against your right nostril and release your index finger from your left nostril.

6. Exhale thoroughly with your left nostril.

7. Do this 10 times.

This practice calms the mind thoroughly and can be done anywhere. Try it at work. Before you pull out into traffic. Before going to sleep. Before meditation or prayer.

Namaste!

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