I recently had the pleasure of speaking with Brett Larkin of the Sivana Podcast. We chatted candidly about the phenomenon most call the "Yogic Release" that moment when your suddenly on the verge of tears on your yoga mat, and you not quite sure how you got there.
Take a listen as Brett and I discuss how you can dig deep, breathe and coach yourself thru those moments. The rewards you reap from surviving a Yoga breakdown are HUGE. These can remind you both of the temporary, yet interconnected nature of all things.
To live we must breathe. It is the oxygenation of the blood and brain that keeps us going. The way we breathe affects our mood, energy level and ability to function.
In Yoga the breath is SUPER IMPORTANT. Pranayama, also know as the Yogic Breathing, is the practice of conscious breathing as a method to help control ones vital energy. Therefore having the ability to tap into your breath as a source of self control and power can have absolutely liberating effects!
Conscious breathing encourages us to embrace the present moment, and be mindful.
In this era of cellphones, ipads, & smart watches we are constantly being notified about everything from our friend’s recent engagement to airline price drops. We can be so focused on the future or past that we are totally disconnected from the reality of the NOW. When the focus is on the breath, you are not thinking, saying or doing anything else; as a result, you must be completely present in the moment.
The differences between Pranayama (Yogic Breathing) and regular breathing are: (1) conscious awareness & (2) the technique. Yogic philosophy believes that we can create different effects in our mind & bodies with our conscious breathing.
I want to share 3 basic Pranayama Techniques with you that you can try at home: Sama Vata Pranayama, Sitali Pranayama, Nodhi Sodhana Pranayama.
A WORD OF ADVICE BEFORE YOU DIVE IN: I would recommend trying each of these techniques for at least 5-7 minutes in order to truly get the full experience. You can sit in a chair that has back support with feet firmly planted and palms face up OR you can sit cross legged with your back against a wall and palms face up on your thighs. Make sure to gently firm your abdominals while you are seated to give your back extra support. If sitting is extremely uncomfortable do to lack of mobility then you can try the techniques while laying down; however make sure not to get so comfortable that you fall asleep.
Sama vata Pranayama - equal length breath. This calming & grounding breath uses nasal breathing to queque the ‘rest & digest’ or Parasympathetic nervous system. The goal is to reach equal pressure, length and speed of breath on inhalation & exhalation. The trick is to relax the palette of the mouth, muscles of the face and body, focusing only on the sensation of the air moving in and out of your nose. You can count internally – if you are concerned about having an accurate measure of the breath.
Sitali Pranayam – cooling breath. This breath is used if you are over heated or need to refresh yourself. You inhale through parted lips, the air is cooled as it moves over your slightly protruding, flattened tongue. Then you exhale through the nose. The goal is to allow this cool breath to cool the body and ground the mind through physical sensation.
Nodhi Sodhana – balancing breath. This breath is used to energetically balance the left & right side of the body. After taking several deep breaths using both nostrils, breathe in deeply, then use the index finger to cover the left nostril. Breathe out of the Right nostril, and then breathe in the Right nostril. Release your left nostril and cover your right nostril. Exhale through your right nostril, then inhale using your right nostril. REPEAT breath with alternating nostril closed several times. Once complete release nostrils take BIG breath in through the nose and exhale through the mouth.
Don’t worry about getting these techniques perfect the first time. Don’t judge your busy mind when it vacillates from thought to thought as it begins to learn to calm down. Simply give yourself permission to practice with out judgment. Make your aim incremental progress rather than instant mastery. You might be surprised at how much you enjoy practicing Pranayama.
Now that you have a handful of technique to try, take a seat, slow down and just breathe….until Next time, Namaste!
Yoga heals. There are tons of scientific research studies that confirm this to be true. However I want to share my own personal story of healing with you all this month.
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**All blogs written by Awilda Rivera, unless otherwise indicated therein.