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Pranayam

Breath a Bridge Between Body and Mind

In yoga the breath known as PRANA a universal energy or a life force that can be used to find balance between the body –mind, the conscious- unconscious, and the sympathetic – parasympathetic nervous system. Unlike other bodily functions, the breath is easily used to communicate between these systems, which give us an excellent tool to help facilitate positive change.

It is the only bodily function that we do both voluntarily and involuntarily.Breathing exercises can act like a bridge into those functions of the body of which we generally do not have conscious control.

Below I have provided few Pranayama techniques:

Deep breathing:

  • Sit in comfortable upright position.
  • Release your whole body; there should not be any accumulation of tightness or tension at any body part. Give little time to ensure your comfort.
  • Now start inhaling slowly deeply through the nose and exhale gently through nose. (6 count inhale 6 count exhale with no pause in breath rhythm)
  • Repeat the practice 12 to 15 times.
  • This practice can also be perform in laying down position (Shavasana)

Kapalbhati (breath of fire):

This breath consists of rapid, forced exhales followed by passive inhales.

  • Come to sit in a comfortable cross legged position or sit on chair with back straight.
  • Exhale forcefully with the jerk and let the inhale happen passively, continue this cycle of forceful exhales and passive inhales at a fast pace, so that the belly is pumping continuously.
  • Do three rounds of 50 breaths each, coming back to deep inhales and exhales between each round.
  • Come back to normal breathing if you feel lightheaded at any time.

Anuloma-Viloma Pranayama (Alternate nostril breathing):

Step 1

  • Sit in a comfortable posture, keeping the head, neck and spine in a straight line.
  • Press the right nostril with the right hand’s thumb, inhale deeply through the left nostril and exhale gently through same nostril.
  • Now close the left nostril with the rest of the fingers and release the right nostril. Inhale deeply through the right nostril and exhale completely through the same.
  • This complete one round. Repeat this practice minimum 20 times.

Step 2

(Inhale through the left, exhale through the right – inhale through the right and exhale through he left )

Abdominal breathing:

  • Lie in shavasan and relax the whole body.
  • Place the right hand on the abdomen just above the navel and the left hand over the center of the chest.
  • Now inhale deeply and draw the breath to the belly, expand the abdominal region.With exhalation contract it. The right hand will move up with inhalation and down with exhalation. The left hand should not move with the breath.
  • Repeat the practice 10 rounds.

Chest breathing:

  • Lie in shavasan and relax the whole body.
  • Place the right hand on the abdomen just above the navel and the left hand over the center of the chest.
  • Now inhale deeply and draw the breath to the chest region, expand the chest, and rib cage. With exhalation contract it. The left hand will move up with inhalation and down with exhalation. The right hand should not move with the breath.
  • Repeat the practice 10 rounds.