At some point every day, we all feel a little too stressed out. We could do with just a little more energy. Incorporate these simple breathing exercises into your Yoga practice to improve your normal breathing and give you a boost of energy every day.
Breathing is a basic necessity. Learning how to breath correctly creates a strong foundation for a healthy life. Doing this assures a steady flow of energy throughout our lives.
The strongest foundation for healthy breathing and abundant energy is breathing through the nose. This kind of breathing is enhanced when practiced mindfully and when fully experienced. Focusing your attention on breathing creates a greater flow of energy. Where the attention goes, the energy flows. This saying is true for breathing as well as life in general.
Science has confirmed that nasal breathing is the correct and most optimal way to breath. It kills bacteria; increases circulation and oxygen in blood; and promotes slow, rhythmic diaphragmatic breathing—a form of breathing that stimulates the parasympathetic nervous system, which is responsible for taking us out of fight or flight and keeping us in balance.
Yoga And Energy
At times, we may feel a need for an extra boost of energy. Practicing a few breathing exercises that are part of the Pranayama routine in Yoga will help you with this. We focus on breathing for many reasons, but the most common is to awaken more energy as well as the kind of energy that will lead to enlightenment. These breathing exercises bring more oxygen, which in turn increases energy.
Breath Of Fire
- Sit straight lining up the head, neck, and spine.
- Rest your hands comfortably on your lap.
- Keep your eyes open or closed (preferred).
- Focus your attention on the lower abdomen (it will naturally relax with mindful attention).
- Take shallow breaths in and out through your nose at a comfortable pace, creating a steady rhythm.
Start by doing this exercise for a minimum of one minute at a stretch. You can increase the time every day with practice. Both the exercises can affect you mentally/emotionally and physically, so it is safe to practice this exercise if you’re in relatively good health. Continue with the exercise and vary the duration depending on the effects on you. A few contraindications of the breath of fire are vertigo or feeling dizzy, high blood pressure, heart disease, epilepsy, stroke, and stomach problems if menstruating.
Bhastrika Or Bellows Breath
- Follow steps 1–4 mentioned in the previous exercise.
- Breathe out forcefully through your nose and then, while breathing in through your nose, expand your lower abdomen fully. Take 1–2 seconds per cycle. The lower abdomen should be the only part of your body that is moving.
- Start with 10 cycles, relax, and then focus on the sensations in your body for 30 seconds. Next, do 20 cycles with another 30-second interval. Finish with 30 cycles and then focus on and experience your body with complete attention.
The number for each cycle can be reduced in the beginning, if necessary. If you feel dizzy, take a break until the dizziness passes.
Since Yoga/self-realization/meditation affect each individual differently, ideally, seek a qualified teacher who can establish a knowing relationship with you when embarking on these journeys. Both of these are powerful exercises and should be done along with a complete Yoga practice. Such breathing techniques are designed as part of a whole approach and not as a quick fix to get some energy.
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