I want to share a breathing exercise technique that is known to energize the body, reduce stress, increase focus, clear the sinuses and more!
Prana is the universal principle of energy. Some people know this life force as God. We can identify it in ourselves as the electric current that moves through our synapses, exciting the heart to beat, stimulating the lungs to breathe…I could be here all day listing the amazing functions the body performs to keep us alive. These functions are all carried out without permission from the mind, which many of us identify as our being, yet prana actively governs our ability to live. Prana rules the universe. Without the flow of energy our meat would be nothing.
How does this relate to the breath? It is said that Prana enters the body through the breath. We focus on eating and drinking as sustenance, yet the body can live weeks without food and days without water. Take away the breath and the body dies in moments. It is a feature that we take for granted because our bodies do it for us automatically, no permission granted.
When we are upset, our breathing is short and shallow. When we are relaxed, it is long and deep. How we relate to our experience is how we relate to the flow of prana in our bodies. Of course, I am trying to teach you a bit about something that has had volumes of work dedicated to it over thousands of years, so please be patient if you are not gaining an in-depth understanding here. I just want to communicate that prana is the life force energy, that it is highly connected to the breath and that in order to live life to the fullest we must actively enable and encourage the flow of prana.
That is why I love breathing exercises. I learned to teach one today called Nadi Shodhana, Alternate Nostril Breathing, and I’d like to teach it to you now. Find a quiet space and a comfortable seat then follow the steps below:
Take your dominant hand, lower the index and middle fingers to the palm, leaving the thumb, ring and pinky standing. This is called the Vishnu mudra.
- Allow your thumb finger to hover outside your right nostril and your ring finger outside your left nostril.
- Take a nice deep inhale.
- Press the thumb to the right nostril to close it and exhale through the left nostril. Keeping the right nostril closed inhale through the left nostril.
- Apply the ring finger to the left nostril and release the thumb from the right nostril. Exhale through the right nostril. Inhale through the right nostril.
- Apply the thumb to the right nostril and release the ring finger from the left nostril. Exhale through the left nostril. Inhale through the right nostril.
- Continue this cycle for 1-2 minutes.
- Exhale through the left nostril.
- Release both nostrils and close the eyes.
- Take one or two deep breaths then allow the breath to return to normal.
- Relax and allow your mind to explore the difference this breathing has made in the body and mind.
Simple enough, right? I broke it down detail by detail since I am not demonstrating the practice in front of you. You’ve just encouraged such an amazing flow of prana. Look at you!
I’ll continue to share little tidbits from my training as I delve deeper into the world of yoga.