Many of us have not tried yoga, might think it is a trend, or are too intimidated to try. Yoga is an amazing source of self confidence and awareness, relaxation, strength, even immune support… The best part is- you can do all of these things at home.
Breathing techniques are an essential part of practicing yoga, they extend to our daily functions and can be used to service any kind of need. You must maintain a rhythm, which will resonate with your body and help you relax, focus, release, and heal. Breathing techniques raise the level of oxygen in your body! Here’s a list of techniques anybody can try:
Ujjayi Pranayama (Victorious Breath or Ocean Breath)
- This technique “helps calm the mind and warm the body”
- Ujjayi means “to conquer”, and is practiced while posing.
- Breathe through your nose, fill your lungs, and contract your throat. Pay attention to each breath, and each movement you make.
Nadi Shodhana Pranayama (Alternate-Nostril Breathing)
- Helps detoxify, relax, clears your mind, heightens concentration Nadi means “channel” or “flow”, shodhana means “purification”
- Used in a seated position
- Fold your right middle and index finger onto the base of thumb on your palm, place your hand on your nose and alternate using your thumb to cover your right nostril, your ring and pinky finger to cover the left. Exhale softly but fully. Breathe in deeply through your nose and inhale through the belly, pause gently at the end of the breath.
- Used to strengthen diaphragm and increase lung capacity, increased oxygen, reduces strain on the circulatory system, great for meditation purposes.
- Can relieve “blockage, acidity, gastric problems, allergies, asthma, constipation and problems with reproductive organs.”
- Kumbhaka means “pot” in reference to the human torso
- Used in a seated position
- Gauge the lengths of your breaths using a 1-1-2 ratio. Inhale, hold for the same amount of time, and exhale for twice the amount of time it took to inhale.
Kapalbhati Pranayama (Skull Shining Breathing)
- Used in a seated on heels position, is an advanced breathing technique
- Cleanses lungs, respiratory system.
- Rest your hands on your knees palms down, inhale deeply through your nostrils to your lower belly, when exhaling contract your lower belly and push the breath out quickly. Aim to do 1 repetition every second for 1 minute. At the end of the minute, inhale deeply and exhale slowly.
- Releases tension on your upper body- jaw/neck/face.
- Used in seated kneeling position
- Begin by sitting back on your heels or even crossing your heels if preferred. Press your palms to your knees and open your chest, extending fingers and arms, and inhale through your nose. Exhale with force, making a “ha” sound and opening your mouth- extending your jaw and your tongue to your chin as far as possible. Return to your starting position and repeat for about 5 minutes.
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