The time-honored art of breathingYogis of long ago recognized the merit in calming, cleansing and balancing the body and mind with the breath. Developed over 5,000 years ago, pranayama (Sanskrit for 'vital energy' and 'extend') is an integral aspect of yogic practice. Below are several examples of how to use the breath to keep the system healthy on all levels.
Simple breath - Before each meal, take three deep breathes. Inhale through the nose and exhale through the mouth. Although seemingly basic, this technique sharpens the senses of smell, taste and texture while promoting clarity. When we are clear and focused during our meals, digestion is improved and over-consumption minimized. The end result: efficiency of digestion and weight loss.
Relaxing breath - Lie flat on your back with knees bent together, bringing the feet close into the buttocks. Place hands on both sides of the naval region. Breath in a slow, deep rhythmic manner for 20 repetitions. Since the naval region is dense with nerves, relaxing this area calms emotions, strengthens the nervous system and fortifies the immune system - ultimately aiding in the removal of unnecessary thoughts and toxins from the body.
Bhastrika (Breath of Fire) - This technique helps to slim and tone the belly, boost metabolism and detoxify the body. Sit cross-legged on the floor and place both hands on the lower abdomen. Take a deep breath then begin to 'pump' the breath rapidly through the nose, expanding and contracting the entire belly. For visual instructions, see here.
Ujjayi (Victorious Breath) - Sitting in a comfortable position, inhale through the nose and lift the chest. Hold for two seconds. While exhaling through the nose, guide the breath to the back of the throat, creating a ocean wave like sound (sometimes referred to as the 'Darth Vader breath'). When practiced properly, ujjayi pranayama should energize and relax. It also oxygenates the blood, builds internal body heat and removes toxins.
A note of caution: Pranayama is not recommended for those with high blood pressure.
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Carolanne believes if we want to see change in the world, we need to be the change. As a nutritionist, natural foods chef and wellness coach, she has encouraged others to embrace a healthy lifestyle of green living for over 13 years. Through her website www.Thrive-Living.net, she looks forward to connecting with other like-minded people who share a similar vision.
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