Our breath is our life force. In Yogic terms it is referred to as Prana. It is part of our Autonomic Nervous System and helps with the 3 aspects of our lives that I always stress we need to take care of: Our Body, Mind, and Spirit.
Body: Breathing brings oxygen to our essential organs including our lungs, heart, muscles, etc. It has been shown to lower your blood pressure and heart rate.
Mind: Breathing deeply can help bring about a relaxed state and decrease stress.
Spirit: Breathing can help us reach inner peace and be in the moment when we meditate.
Here is an introduction to 3 basic breathing techniques I use daily.
This type of breathing allows us to use our diaphragm which is the proper breathing muscle. Lying on your back with one hand on your chest and one on your abdomen, inhale through your nose and imagine your breath traveling deep into the bottom of your belly as it rises. Your chest hand should not move. pause briefly. Now exhale through pursed lips and allow your belly to fully deflate.
Fire breathing (Kapalabhati Pranayama):
This helps build energy and heat in your body and is good for priming your body for a workout.
Imagine panting fast like a dog but only through your nose. You exhale quickly and forcefully using your diaphragm and abdomen. Focus on sharp exhalations.
Alternating Nostril breathing (Nadi Sodhana) :
This breathing technique will help fill up both sides of your body, while cleansing your airways.
Use the right thumb to close the right nostril. Take a deep breath in through the left nostril and imagine your breath traveling into the left side of the body. Pause briefly. Next, use the ring and pinky fingers of the right hand to close the left nostril as you release the right nostril. Exhale through the right nostril imagining the breath traveling out of the right side of the body. Pause at the bottom of the exhale. Then switch for a few rounds.
I go over all of these breathing techniques in my "Recover & Reform" Class on Zoom (Saturdays 12 pm PST). The class is a restorative class that includes meditation, foam rolling, and a variety of mobility movements to heal your body, mind, and spirit.
Please email me for the schedule and links. It is donation based ($15 suggested)