Breathing Techniques and Benefits
By Samantha Mahoney
By Samantha Mahoney
Breathing happens naturally on a regular basis. So why should you practice breathing exercises, better known as pranayama? Pranayama comes from the Sanskrit words “prana,” which means breath or life force and “ayama,” which means to extend or expand. When combined together, they mean extension of life force.
On a daily basis, we are practicing unconscious breathing or involuntary breathing. Our brain stem is doing all of the work. On the other hand, conscious breathing is bringing awareness to the timing and location of your breath. By implementing conscious breath, you are engaging your brain more actively. Below are a few breathing techniques and their benefits.. First thing you will need to do is find a comfortable seated position. Sit up nice and tall, close your eyes and relax your body.
-With the mouth closed, take a long inhalation through the nose while slightly constricting the back of the throat.
-This should produce an audible sound at the back of the throat.
-Then, exhale slowly while slightly constricting your throat muscles.
A really great way to practice this pranayama is to inhale for a count of five and then exhale for a count of five. It’s great to practice this while sitting so eventually you can incorporate this in your yoga practice.
-Start by lying on your back
-Place one hand on your chest and the other on your stomach, just below your rib cage.
-Breathe in slowly through your nose filling your belly with air.
-You should feel your hand rise on your stomach, but your hand on your chest should remain still.
-Then, exhale through your mouth and allow your stomach to lower.
-Your chest should always remain still.
-Inhale deeply through your nose.
-Exhale through your mouth making a “ha” sound. As you exhale, open your mouth wide and stick your tongue out towards your chin.
-Try bringing your internal focus (dristhi) toward the center of your forehead (third eye).
-Inhale, returning to a neutral face.
-repeat 4-6 times
-Bring your right hand to your face and place your thumb on your right nostril, closing it.
-Take a deep breath through your left nostril.
-Hold the breath for one count then cover the left nostril with your ring finger.
-Exhale through the right nostril
-Continue the pattern for a couple minutes.
-Take 2 or 3 breaths through your nose.
-Roll your tongue, curling the sides in through the center to form a taco shape.
-Stick the end of your tongue out between your pursed lips.
-If you can’t roll your tongue, simply purse your lips making an “O” with your mouth.
-Inhale slowly through the tube formed by your tongue, as if you were sipping water through a straw.
-Let the breath expand your chest and belly.
-Close your mouth and exhale through your nose.
-Repeat 5-10 times.
The most basic type of deep breathing can be done by inhaling through the nose and exhaling through the mouth. Some of the benefits of breathing exercises, controlled breathing, or deep breathing has been shown to reduce stress and anxiety, promote relaxation, improve mood, increase lung capacity, raise energy levels, lower blood pressure, elevate athletic performance and decrease the prevalence of chronic illnesses. Having a deep breathing practice can help elevate your mood and overall well being.
RYT200, currently working on 300 hour yoga certification.
I teach Monday 9:30-10:30 2-3 level yoga class and Tuesdays 12-1 All levels during normals Kroc hours.