If you have ever taken a class at a yoga studio, chances are that you practiced breathing techniques that originated from ancient yogic traditions which serve as guidelines on how to live a meaningful and purposeful life. Many of these practices, including the breathing techniques discussed here, were recorded in the 15th century as the Hatha Yoga Pradipka, a sort of manual on hatha yoga.
As we go through our daily lives, we may have thoughts that trigger an emotion. The emotion then triggers a physical reaction that affects our breath or prana (life energy).
Even though the holidays are a cause for celebration, sometimes this time of year triggers feelings of stress and anxiety. Through controlled breathing practices, we can gain mastery over our respiratory process and begin to explore the connection between the breath, the mind and our emotions.
Here are a few breathing techniques are best for this time of year.
BREATHING TECHNIQUE 1:
SITALI BREATH - COOLING BREATH
This breathing technique will help you cool yourself from the inside out.
- Find a comfortable seat, and lengthen your spine.
- As you prepare to inhale through the mouth, take your tongue out and create a straw like space as you curl the outlines of your tongue towards one another.
- Then inhale through the divot of your tongue, retain your breath, close your mouth and exhale through your nose.
- Continue to five or 10 rounds, and feel the cooling effect begin.
BREATHING TECHNIQUE 2:
SAMAVARTTI - SAME ACTION BREATH
This breathing technique will leave you feeling a sense of balance and stability in the mind and body.
- Elevate your pelvis with a pillow underneath, this will help lengthen your spine.
- Start observing the irregularities of your breath.
- With intention, slow down the breath, and sync the inhalations with exhalations.
- Mentally count up to five as you inhale and count up to five as you exhale. Continue for five minutes or more.
BREATHING TECHNIQUE 3:
NADI SHODHANA - ALTERNATE NOSTRIL BREATH
At some point during the holidays we are likely to find ourselves feeling frazzled and misaligned, as we attempt to multitask. This breathing exercise is great for restoring balance, improving your ability to focus, and rejuvenating the nervous system.
- Find your seat with a long spine, a good option is to sit on a chair, this will help your central channel, the spine to lengthen with ease.
- Left-hand will comfortably rest on your left thigh.
- Form the Vishnu mudra hand position with your right hand (index and middle fingers of your right hand curl down) place your thumb on the outside of your nostril and inhale through your left nostril, keep your mouth closed.
- Close your left nostril with your ring finger at the top of the breath and hold momentarily.
- Lift your thumb and exhale out of your right nostril, then, inhale with your right nostril and so on.
- Begin with seven rounds, and continue for a few minutes for best results.
Happy holidays! Enjoy this time with family and friends, and whenever you can, sneak in a goodbreathe to keep you centered, and feeling your best selfs.