It is surely yogis’ best-shared secret that breathwork is key to being present and renewing vitality. The power of meditative breath is profound, as it can activate your parasympathetic nervous system to alleviate ailments caused by depression and chronic stress.
Allow your breath to be your guide to encourage wellness at different stages of your day.
Alternate Nostril Breathing (Nadi Shodhana Pranayama)
For creativity, concentration, and encouraging balance
With your right hand, close your right nostril with your thumb and inhale through your left nostril. Then exhale and inhale through your right nostril by closing your left nostril with your index finger. Release your left nostril, and close your right nostril. Exhale and inhale through your left nostril. Repeat for several cycles.
Breathing through your right nostril activates the brain’s left hemisphere, the logic governing side of your brain, while breathing through the left stimulates the right side, the creative side of your brain. This exercise calms your heartbeat and encourages balance.
To uplift, energize, and focus energy
Inhale for a count of 3, and exhale for a count of 6 releasing a soft “ha” sound. You may lengthen the inhalation and exhalation period, ensuring that the exhalation count is always double the inhalation count.
Best-done standing with your feet shoulder-width apart, barefoot if you can. You may choose to have your palms facing the sky. Visualize where you want to focus your energy, and imagine the earth’s unlimited energy pouring into that space.
This breathing technique originates from the Huna tradition of Hawaii. While you will find that this exercise energizes after only a few minutes, traditionally, Hawaiians could spend days collectively practicing this exercise in preparation for a large project.
For anxiety, insomnia, and chronic stress
Inhale for 3 seconds, hold for 3 seconds, exhale 3 seconds, hold for 3 seconds. Repeat. Do this cycle at least three times, and then deepen the count to 4. Four cycles of a 4-count, and then deepen to a count of 5, and so on.
This exercise allows carbon dioxide to relax your muscles and ensures adequate oxygen intake. For insomnia, this is a great alternative to counting sheep.
To learn more about breathwork in yoga, check out our article on Types of Breathwork.
By Hannah Parks; All Rights Reserved @2020