What do you always carry with you that has the power to alleviate pain, release stress and promote a healthy heart? It may seem like the answer is a magical amulet or potion, but the answer is our breath. It can do these things and so much more. However, many of us do not use the simple tool of Pranayama (Breathing Techniques) to help us improve our health.
Being able to control our breath is important. With each inhale we bring oxygenated air into the lungs. Oxygenated red blood cells travel through the blood to all areas of the body. The oxygen then converts glucose to energy, thus supporting physical activity and keeping tissues healthy. As this is occurring, the de-oxygenated blood cells become the waste product of carbon dioxide and exit the body through the exhale. So much is happening at once from one simple breath, it’s really quite miraculous!
The pace and rhythm of the breath is a good gauge of where our mind and body is at. Shallow, quick breaths may occur after running a distance, or indicate an anxious mind. Practicing Pranyama is a wonderful way to establish inner focus and slow the heart rate. Additionally, it can reduce stress or anxiety, and help manage pain.
Pranayama is absolutely something you can do at home (or anywhere) on your own. Try starting with these simple techniques and let the magic of the breath help you with your wellness goals.
5 Second Breath:
- Take a slow breath in through the nose for 5 seconds
- Exhale to another count of 5 seconds
- Repeat 5-10 times
Double the Exhale:
- Inhale to a count of 4
- Exhale slowly and smoothly to a count of 8
- you can do this with any count, as long as the exhale is double the length of the inhale
- Repeat 5-10 times
- Breath normally, but count each inhale until you reach a count of 10
- After you get to 10 inhales, repeat by counting 10 exhales
- This is great for calming the mind
I love to use the exhale to allow the body to relax. Lately I’ve been closing my yoga classes with two inhale/exhales through the nose, encouraging relaxation and release on each exhale.
If you’d like a personalized sequence or an individual session focused on your health goals, please drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also join me for one of my classes. See my offerings on my schedule page.
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