Breathing exercises – the most effective way to wake up in the early morning before taking your morning coffee. Pranayama breath, which is the sanskrit word in yoga for breath – you can read more about pranayama breath in one of my other blogs, i’ll link it by the end of the article – is mostly done for control, synchronicity, and entire relaxation. The breathing exercises i will soon mention are perfect to be done in the morning, or if you practice yoga daily, right after class. Here are 3 of the most effective pranayama breathing techniques you can try out even at home :
1. Nadi Shodhana – alternative nostril breathing
Nadi Shodhana is beautiful and simple technique which not only calms the nervous system, but also reduces stress, calms the mind and helps with a restful night’s sleep.
HOW TO DO IT:
The technique is quite simple – all you do is sit in a comfortable seated position, resting both your hands on your lap. Start off with a few long and slow breaths, counting your inhales and exhales as you do so. Then, lift up your hand, and with your palm open place your thumb onto the right nostril, softly closing it without stopping your counting breaths. Take a long deep inhale through your left open nostril and exhale slowly keeping your right nostril closed. After a few more breaths, change hands and repeat the exact same sequence with your left hand.
2. Kapalabhati breath – breath of fire
It’s called the breath of fire because what you do is literally as if you’re breathing fire; this technique is ideal for you if you want to clear out your nasal passage, relieve congestion and reduce bloating. This exercise done in the morning is the most effective, with an empty stomach and a clear mind. Do not attempt this breathing exercise if you are pregnant or suffering from heart conditions.
HOW TO DO IT:
The exercise is also done starting from a seated position with your hands on your lap. Start by taking a few slow and long breaths with your eyes closed, and get your focus on only your breath, excluding any other thoughts entering your mind. Once you’ve done a few breaths, take one deep inhale as long as you can, and keeping your mouth closed exhale sharply and rapidly with a pace – while doing so, whenever you exhale make sure you pull your navel towards your spine – Do one round of approximately 20-30 rapid exhales, and when you’re done inhale once more again deeply and mindfully. If you feel a bit light-headed, that’s normal. If you feel like 30 times is too much, start off by doing 15 times and then relax for a little more, keeping your eyes closed.
3. Dirga Swasam Pranayama – 3-level breath control
This technique is the most often taught to beginners in yoga practice. It’s the most simple technique and the most effective when done with full focus and mindfulness – it calms your mind as well as the nervous system. Additionally, focusing on your body during the 3-level breath brings awareness to the present moment. According to studies, you can inhale and exhale up to seven times as much air (and oxygen and prana) during a three-part breath than in a shallow, chest-based breath. Avoid this exercise if you have respiratory problems,such as asthma or emphysema. Also, if you have any medical problems, consult your doctor before trying out this exercise.
HOW TO DO IT:
The way you do this technique is very simple : sit in a comfortable seated position, or lying down in Savasana, with your full body relaxed. Start like usual, taking some deep breaths in and out. When you feel ready place your right hand on your stomach – this is the first level; Continue your deep breaths but focus more on the stomach: every time you inhale make your stomach like the shape of a balloon and exhaling contract your stomach, sucking everything in and releasing to the max. Repeat this another 3 times – then go on by placing both hands this time on your ribs each on one side. Do the same breathing, but focus on how your ribs widen every time you inhale, and then get smaller when you exhale. Repeat this another 3 times – finally place both hands on your collarbones; you don’t need to place them you can even lift them slightly above the collarbones, repeating the same kind of deep, slow breaths with your focus on the upper part of your body. Every time you inhale imagine there is someone pulling you up from the top of your head and you are getting taller and taller; exhaling, release your body and let it sink down to a maximum relaxation. Repeat this process a few times and when you are done with the last level, you may combine all levels together into one inhale and one exhale: taking a deep slow inhale, the stomach turns into a balloon, the rib cage opens wider and wider and the collarbones lift up to the max – try and keep your inhale for a few seconds with your eyes closed, and then exhale releasing everything.
This technique can be done any time of the day and is ideal for anyone. If you have any respiratory problems consult your doctor before trying out this exercise.
Pranayama breathing has been present for thousands of years now , starting off in Hinduism as a spiritual connection to the universe and nowadays has become one of the most popular ways of starting or ending any type of yoga class. So next time you are interested in trying out these techniques, consult your instructor ( or doctor if any health problems) , and try it out at home first thing in the morning or before a good night’s sleep!
Here is the link to my previous blog talking about pranayama and what it is – https://worldofspiritual.com/pranayama-breath-control/
I would love to know in the comments below if you have tried them before or if you have any more questions regarding yoga, i am always here for you and connected with you 🙂
Namaste to all <3