“When you own your breath nobody can steal your peace” anonymous.
Who wouldn't like to come home after a long day at work and have extra energy for what matters? For example, finish a home project, play with your kids, head to the gym, attend a motivating class or meet a friend without feeling that you have been runover by giant plow machine. Does this sound familiar?
Pranayama is the regulation of the breath (prana means life force, yama means regulation).Breathing exercises are not a new-age therapy, it's been around for centuries and its origins are rooted from eastern traditions. Prana is the life force and pranayama increases our digestive fire, also known as Agni. Breathing exercises also opens the mind, oxygenates the brain, increases Ojas (immunity), and improves mental clarity. Therefore, pranayama exercises helps with concentration in any area of your life that you would like to improve, helps to quiet your mind and to regulate strong emotions.
What is the best time to practice?
Morning fresh air is the best time to practice pranayama between 8:00-9:00 am. According to the circadian rhythm, this is the best time of alertness to initiate this routine. It is best performed sitting in a comfortable posture.
Here are four practices for you to explore:
Skull-Shining Breath (Kapalabhati)
Sit at the edge of a chair; take a deep breath, then release it. Next inhale and exhale forcefully, breathing in and out rapidly with the emphasis on the exhalation, like blowing your nose. The inhalation and abdominal movement will happen spontaneously. Finish by deep inhalation and exhalation. Begin with two rounds of 20 exhalations perround and adjust according to your capacity. When you feel ready, go up to 100 exhalations per minute.
It detoxifies the respiratory system and massages and oxygenates the inner organs with fresh blood.
It is good for the prostate and ovaries, forming new blood cells, liver function, brain and immunity.
Helps to tone up the abdominal muscles, reduce abdominal fat.
Clears anger and heat from stagnant pitta (heat) stored in the liver.
Before meditation, it improves concentration and helps to pacify the mind.
Contraindications: avoid during menstruation and pregnancy.
Alternate Nostril Breathing
Place your right thumb over your right nostril and breathe in through the left nostril, resting your middle and index fingers on your forehead. Then, close your left nostril with your ring finger of your right hand and breathe out through the right nostril. Then, breathe in through your right nostril, replace your thumb over the right nostril and breathe out through your left nostril. Repeat 12 – 30 times. This can have the effect of balancing the right and left hemispheres of the brain.