It’s a well known fact that majority of adults do not breathe correctly. The once calm, deep breathing we did as children is affected by the fast paced, stressful – often sedentary – life we lead as adults. The deep ‘child’ breath has been replaced with shallow rapid breaths which are literally starving the body of oxygen.
Our everyday breathing can be affected by many things but predominantly our posture, how stressed we feel, the air quality around us, the activity we’re doing at the time such as running, and of course, if we are suffering from a respiratory condition such as a heavy cold.
So to help you improve your habitual breathing, to bring more oxygen into your body and to strengthen your respiratory organs I’d like to share the following Yoga breathing techniques with you .. no experience or fancy yoga pants required! You should not feel any strain whilst practicing these exercises, the breath should be calm & steady.
Ok, let’s begin! And remember, you can always take a break with a few deep breaths and come back to the exercise when you feel ready.
Long Deep Breathing. Can be done anywhere anytime! Close your eyes, relax your jaw & tongue & gentle close your mouth. Start by noticing your natural breath – how fast are you breathing, how shallow or deep is your breath? Try to slow your breathing down so that the in & out breath become a nice comfortable steady flow. Feel the air moving in through the nostrils, down the throat, expanding the belly and ribs, filling the lungs from the bottom to the top. And then notice the breath moving out of the body, flowing out from the lungs from the bottom to the top & out through the nose. Then, without changing your breathing, begin to count the length of your inhale and the length of the exhale. Try to establish a nice easy even rhythm so each in & out breath are the same length, try to make the in & out breath a comfortable count of 8 seconds in & 8 seconds out. With practice the length will increase. Try to practice this technique for at least 3 minutes – set your timer.
Left Nostril Breathing – Breathing through the left nostril only is calming, cooling & relaxing for the mind & body. Close your eyes, relax your jaw & tongue & gentle close your mouth. Gently block off the right nostril with a finger or thumb on your right hand and take long deep gentle breaths through the left nostril only. Keep the right arm relaxed.
Right Nostril Breathing. – The right nostril is the heating, activating, energizing channel. Close your eyes, relax your jaw & tongue & gentle close your mouth. Gently block off the left nostril with a finger or thumb on your left hand, and take long deep gentle breaths through the right nostril only. Keep the left arm relaxed.
Alternate Nostril Breathing – Close your eyes, relax your jaw & tongue & gentle close your mouth. Using the right hand, use the thumb to block off the right nostril, inhale through the left nostril. Then, at the top of your inhale, close the left nostril with the little finger on the right hand & exhale through the right nostril. Continue this pattern for at least 3 minutes.
Breath of Fire!! This is a short continuous sniffing breath through both nostrils that is stimulates the digestive system & brings a ‘glow’ to the entire body. Begin by taking a short but deep inhale, then, as you exhale quickly pull the belly button inwards toward the spine so the out breath becomes a rapid & short (quiet) ‘snort’! Keep repeating this simple pattern so that it creates an even rhythm. Start slow and pick up speed as you feel comfortable. Practice for 1 minute until you feel comfortable to increase the length of time.
Antidote to calm Tired Eyes. Great if you have eye strain from looking at a screen for too long. Rub your hands together to generate some heat between the palms. Then, cup your palms over your eyes resting your fingers on your forehead & the heel of each hand on your cheeks. Keep the hands soft and relaxed & close your eyes behind your palms if you like. Take long deep breaths & stay here for as long as you can.
Have Fun & Shine Your Light!