Prana / breath is the life giving force that is responsible for how you exist on the planet today. Focusing on it can truly change your life as it alters your thought process & ultimately your life for the better. If you’re a yoga practitioner, you will likely have experienced a class ending or beginning with a focus on breath and setting an intention for the class. To those who don’t believe in the undulating power of breath & this step in a practice it may not mean much, but to do those who believe, breathing is the ultimate beauty & mental health elixir. When you take 20 minutes out of your sacred time and dedicate it to breathing regularly you will see a remarkable difference in how you do you. Try it once at least to agree or to disagree.
Breathing yoga – Pranayama increases your immunity, calms your mind and is associated with mental wellness too. It also helps clear out Chakra imbalances by releasing energy blockages in the body. It also helped me with my digestive system & has given me great skin in the process too as it corrects any imbalances in your body from an Ayurvedic perspective. You will get rid of stress and anxiety and will feel all round calm no matter what the external situation is. I kid you not you feel positive about life & if combined with asana practice you get a sense of stillness that is incomparable to most workouts for me.
The practices may be strange if you are new to yoga, however, with a little practice you will get used to it. Remember to sit in a comfy seated posture for this. Perhaps a chair if cross-legged doesn’t work for you. Here’s a list of my favourite asanas and how I incorporate them into my life:
- Kapalbhati Breathing – Kapalbhati is an asana that was reignited in India by a famous Yogi Baba Ramadeva. No matter how hairy he looks he reminded us of how great Yoga is and what it can do yet as I have travelled outside India I find non-Indian practitioners do better than us. Perhaps we simply don’t appreciate what we were born into or may be it’s just a case of preferring a different workout, each to their own I guess. This type of breathing involves short & forceful exhalations. Take a deep breath and follow it with forceful and quick exhalations, as many as you can do without getting dizzy. For detailed flow watch Yoga By Adrienne on Youtube. Tip: I usually start my morning with this on empty stomach and time it for 5 minutes.
- Anulom Vilom / Alternate Nostril Breathing – Fold three fingers on your right hand or left and use your pinkie & thumb to do the work. a) Place thumb on right nostril breath in through left b) Block left nostril with ring finger, simultaneously release thumb, & exhale c) Inhale through right & release through left d) Switch fingers and continue alternative nostril breathing Complicated when I say it so check out this video by Yoga by Adrienne. Tip: I follow it up with Kapalbhati and continue for 5-7 minutes.
- Bhramari / Bee Breath – Bee Breath is so cool and mind-blowing for me. Sit in your comfy posture and place your four fingers on your forehead / eyes ensuring eyes are covered. Place your thumb in your ears and take a deep breath in & exhaling making an Mish sound. It’s like saying the last part of Om = mmmmmmmmm. Repeat three times and done. When you do this you sound like a bee & once I come back to normal I will super relaxed for some reason that I don’t know of yet. Tip: This is step 3 of my morning practice. Usually will not take longer than 2-3 minutes.
- Deep focused breaths & meditation – Just do some slow & steady breaths before floating in to a good spot of meditation. I leave the remaining time for a quick meditation from the app Insight Timer.
Have you tried breathing yoga? Want to give me some tips & tricks? Comment below or email or think of me and I’ll know..wink wink..Until next post. xo