While keeping pace with our hectic lives, we often forget to safeguard against the menace, ‘stress’ that manages to affect both, our physical and mental health. Read on to understand how these three breathing techniques can be helpful in detoxifying our mind and bodies.
People, not only across the nation but also worldwide are choosing yoga over other physical exercises to keep their bodies in shape. Its growing popularity hints at its effectiveness in achieving those amazing body goals that one desires. But along with a healthy body, one must aspire to forge a healthy and positive mind. We require a way to avoid those moments when our rational faculties get completely submerged under multiple waves of rage and anxiety, or the unexpected bouts of sadness when life itself becomes disappointing. We need a way to control our minds.
This is where pranayama comes into the picture. ‘Pran’ is the vital energy, the breath that gives us life, and by exercising (ayama) the same, one can cleanse the body of any ailments, mental or physical, and significantly boost his/her immunity. Pranayama refers to the numerous breathing exercises that can be used to train our minds, stimulate our internal organs and systems, and cure diseases, simply by controlling the air that flows through the various chakras in our body.
For those of us, who shy away from exercise often (or not), pranayama is the perfect method to stay fit. Here are three basic breathing techniques, out of many others, to help you get started.
To begin, put on some loose fitting clothes, and find a clean and well ventilated spot. It’s generally advised to perform these exercises in the morning after completing your daily ablutions, but if that is not convenient for you, try to avoid doing them immediately after eating. Take a deep breath, feel the rejuvenating oxygen flowing through your body and follow the steps.
Anulom Vilom Pranayama
This is one of the easiest pranayama with most benefits. Also called the ‘alternative nostril breathing’, this exercise helps relieve stress and energise the body. The steady rhythm of breathing relaxes the mind and cures problems such as depression and asthma. Researchers have also claimed that this pranayama has the ability to treat major issues like, sinus, migraine, blood pressure, diabetes, and improve confidence and creativity by increasing brain activity.
– Sit up straight and fold your legs in padmasana or lotus posture.
– Keep one hand on your knee with the palm facing the ceiling. Close your right nostril with the thumb of the other hand and exhale slowly from the left one.
– After inhaling, till the lungs are full, from the left nostril, close it with the ring finger (keep the index and middle fingers folded) and after holding in the breath for a few seconds, exhale through the right nostril.
– To begin the next cycle, maintain the same position and inhale from the right side and after blocking it with the thumb exhale through the left. Remember to inhale using the same nostril that you exhale from.
– Repeat the process for at least 20 cycles.
Note: Avoid overtaxing yourself and holding your breath in for too long.
This exercise involves forceful exhaling in short bursts and has multiple benefits. This pranayama helps improve concentration and memory and cures digestive disorders, acidity issues, and reduces belly fat by controlling the movement of the stomach. Regular practice of this pranayama can be immensely beneficial for increasing blood supply, and treating heart and lung related problems and providing a healthy glow to your face.
– Sit with your back erect in lotus position and keep your hands on your knees, facing the ceiling.
– Take a deep breath till your lungs are full.
– Now exhale in short bursts while contracting your stomach. Pull your navel in as much as possible while forcefully exhaling. To start with aim for 20 exhalations at a time.
– Relax, inhale and repeat the process.
Note: People with high or low blood pressure should avoid performing the activity without supervision.
Bhramar in Hindi refers to honey bees and this pranayama is named after the same because, it involves exhaling while humming like bees. Considered to be one of the best asana to relieve stress and calm the anxieties of mind, it also helps in treating migraine and sinus infection. The exercise also helps in treating insomnia as it compels the brain to relax.
– Sit with your spine erect in lotus position. People with back pain can also perform the asana while lying down.
– Gently close the flap of your ears, by pressing down on the cartilage with your thumbs.
– Put your index and middle fingers of both hands directly upon your closed eyes and the ring and little finger on your lips. Don’t put excessive pressure on the eyes.
– Take a deep breath and exhale slowly while making a soft humming noise. Keep the sound level low and experience the vibrations inside your head.
– Repeat the process for 10 cycles.
Note: Focus on the humming sound and release the cartilage of the ears for the last cycle.
While sitting on the couch and watching mindless entertainment, or scrolling through news feed on your handsets may seem appealing on a lazy afternoon, it will only add to your fatigue and tensions. Instead, you can invest your time on these simple yet effective breathing exercises and improve your state of mind significantly. So, what will be your choice?