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The Art Of Yoga Breathing

May 7, 2008
It is very beneficial to pay careful attention to the breath and to learn to control it in various ways. It is beneficial in the areas of physical health and in your practice of yoga. Apparently, the breath, the mind and the body are intricately link, that whatever you do to one will affect the other.

In yoga, it is vital to learn how to use the correct patterns of breath in order to get the most out of your yogic endeavours. Correct breath patterns must be practiced and observed before meditation and asanas. Correct breathing alone, can unwind your whole body, rid your body of unwanted toxins and rid your mind of anger, stress, tension and worry.

Do not risk harm by attempting to perform these exercises without consulting a trained yoga teacher or without seeking medical advice from a doctor. A yoga teacher can teach an appropriate breathing pattern to cater to your needs and your condition. To perform the pranayama and gain the most out of them, it is best to integrate it with the two of the three holistic approaches, asanas and meditation.

Helpful Notes

- Breathe in and out through your nose.

- Clear any blocked nostril. If your left nostril is blocked, lie on your right side for a few minutes and vice versa

- Never perform pranayam after asanas.

- If pranayam is to precede your asanas routine, set aside a time when you won't be interrupted.

- The idea is to lead yourself to a relaxed state so do not force your breathing and never do it in haste.

Long Deep breathing

The most basic and natural of all breathing techniques is the long and deep breathing as it relieves stress and tension. It brings down toxic buildup in the mucus linings of the alveoli of the lungs, cleanses the blood and as a result of increased oxygen flow to your brain and body, your health improves in many ways.

Technique

Do sit in a comfortable manner. Relax your shoulders and chest. Breathe in, relaxing the abdomen, pushing your belly forward, expanding it. Then, as you breathe out, allow the abdomen to shrink back in, tightening your belly muscles and pushing the air out. Do this and not straining yourself. Open up and release the breath. You may put one hand on your belly to feel the abdomen expanding and contracting as you inhale and exhale. Perform in even lengths. Exhale for the same length of time as you inhale.

When To Do This:

- Before meditation

- Before going to bed

- Before a meeting, presentation or a big decision

- Before studying, before an exam, or an interview

- And whenever you can think of --- in the car, at work, or while waiting in line

Alternate-nostril breathing

Alternate-nostril breathing encourages mind to heighten levels of discrimination, concentration and thoughts. It also boostmore energy and oxygen to the physical body and helps calm your nerves and improve circulation.

Before You Begin

For a more advanced technique, seek advice from a yoga teacher or an acarya (spiritual teacher). Your acarya will coach the pranayama technique that will be most beneficial to your mental and physical health and prepare you to complement the pranayama with mantra and meditation. No one should risk harm by practicing these techniques without seeking advice from a trained yoga teacher.

Technique

Sit in either Padmasana or Siddhasana. Close your eyes. Press and close the right nostril with your right hand thumb. Inhale a deep breath through the left nostril. After taking a full breath, close the left nostril with the middle, taking the thumb away from the right nostril and slowly releasing the air out, expelling the breath fully and inhale through your right nostril. After a full inhalation, close your right nostril with the thumb and release the fingers from your left nostril and exhale through your left nostril. This finishes one round. Start off with three rounds each time and gradually step up the rounds as you progress through the weeks.

When To Do This

- Do this in a well-ventilated, clean, smoke-free, dust-free, odor-free room.

- Do not perform this technique after asanas (yoga exercises).
About the Author
Cindy Heller is a professional writer. Visit I Learn Yoga Online to learn more about yoga diet and yoga symbols.
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