Did you know that poor posture, stress, unhealthy lifestyle, lack of movement and many more reasons result in a pathological breath? Even more – I can confidently say that most people breathe incorrectly throughout the day.
According to the yogic teachings, breath is prana – our vital force, the flow of energy. Swami Satyananda Saraswati says that physical activity, sleep, work, intake of food, sexual relations, all affect the distribution of prana. However, faculties of the mind, such as thought, emotion, imagination, affect the pranic body, even more, resulting in people being “energetically drained”, it even leads to metabolic dysfunction. Techniques of pranayama reverse this process.
In simple words, it’s conscious breathing and one of the 8 limbs of yoga. Yogic breathing techniques(or Pranayama), help to improve the quality of your breathing and honestly a quality of your life. Through a number of breathing exercises working on strengthening the muscles of the respiratory system.
Conscious breathing is focusing on expanding the work of the lungs, increasing the capacity, and most importantly improving the work of the respiratory system, which leads to the relaxation and focused mind.
Remember that breathing is the most vital process in the body. It is linked to the performance of the brain, fills the cells of the body with the oxygen. Most of us are breathing incorrectly, we are using only a very small part of the lungs.
This is what happens, when you are under stress – the brain says “danger”, all systems switch into the danger mode, your breathing frequency increases, digestion slows down, sugar released in the bloodstream followed by insulin secretion, heart rate goes up, blood pressure rises, muscles tighten – switching your sympathetic nervous system on, you are ready to fight or flight.
The good news is you can help to control it, through conscious breathing. If you bring your awareness to your breath and start slowing it down by making deep, rhythmic and slow breath, your body will receive signals to calm down and relax – switching your parasympathetic nervous system on.
Conscious breath and some advanced breathing techniques can even help to remove old emotional and psychological pain and trauma. However, we will begin with the basic breathing techniques, what you can implement wherever you are.
But first start noticing how you breathe during the day, when you are calm, when you are happy, stressed, worried.
Breath is very powerful, it can help you to calm down, but as well it can energise and create heat for you, it can help to detoxify the body as well.
In this article, I am focusing solely on breathing for stress, anxiety and sleep. For detoxification and energy breathing techniques, please subscribe to the newsletter and receive the article straight into your inbox.
In this part we are going to learn 5 breathing techniques, you can choose any 3 if you are a beginner, or you can complete all of them. If you are experienced, you can go from 2 to 5 cycles each technique you choose.
Remember 1 cycle is 5 breaths.
When one is complete begin the next one, do not mix those up.
Let’s say you do 3 cycles of 3 techniques, so it comes up to:
5 breaths(in each cycle) * 3 cycles * 3 techniques = 45 breaths
You can practice this pranayama before going to bed, also any time you feel stressed, anxious, worried, nervous. You can just slow down and extend your exhale, as in technique 3 and 5. These two techniques are not visible for others, and you can practice it anywhere.
Ujjai breath – is also called tranquilising breath, this breath is heating the body, however, it has a calming effect, by soothing the nervous system and slowing down the heart rate, it has a profoundly relaxing effect on a psychic level.
Sit in a comfortable position or stand with feet hip-width apart.
Start whispering any word, and feel the sensation in your throat. Do you notice how you contracting your throat to make the sounds?
Now try to close your mouth, inhale and when you exhale pronounce this word with your mouth closed.
When you feel you are ready to move on, keep the contraction in the throat and begin inhaling and exhaling.
Your breaths will be slower than usual, which is normal.
If you are doing it correctly, you should be able to hear your inhale and exhale.
Sit in a comfortable position, and put your left hand on your left knee in chin mudra(touch your index finger with your thumb)
Put your right index finger and middle finger on your third eye area
Close your left nostril with your right thumb
Inhale with your left nostril on 4 counts, close it
Hold the breath on 7 counts(or whatever is comfortable for you)
Open your right nostril, exhale
Inhale through your right nostril on 8 counts, close it
Hold the breath on 7 counts
Open your left nostril, exhale on 8 counts
This is 1 round, completed. Repeat 5 times.
Sit comfortably, or stand with your feet hip-width apart. However you can also practice this breathing when you are in bed and can’t sleep, so laying down is fine too.
Inhale on 4 counts
Hold your breath on 7 counts
Exhale on 8 counts
Repeat 5 times
This breath is teaching us how to use 100% of our lungs. Full yogic breath also activates the diaphragm more intensely, so the entire respiratory muscular system is engaged.
! this just an exercise, you should breathe this throughout the day!
Begin full yogic breath lying down on your back. When you feel you are ready, transition to a seated position, but it’s easier to learn this particular technique laying down.
So sit cross-legged or lie down on your back
We are going to inhale in 3 rounds:
Exhaling is also happening in 3 rounds, in the reverse order:
Round 1 completed. Repeat 5 times
Same as 4-7-8 breathing, you can do this technique when you are in bed, or in any stressful situation.
The name speaks for itself, we are going to exhale 2 times longer than inhale.
Usually, if you are a beginner start with 4-8(inhale on 4, exhale on 8).
If you feel you can increase, begin the next round 5-10.
Full exercise includes 4 IN – 8 OUT, and finish 5 rounds on 10 IN – 20 OUT
If it’s too hard for you, do all 5 rounds on 4 IN – 8 OUT.
Repeat 5 times.
Pump those lungs with oxygen!
And leave a comment if you have a question
Great article, thank you so much for sharing
Good analysis. Let me try to follow the instructions then I will share my experience,
Thank you, looking forward to hear about your progress
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