Both our energy and mood can be improved with good breathing practices. Focusing on our breath, and ensuring we are breathing deeply, from the diaphragm rather than the upper chest, means we increase our oxygen levels. This oxygen is absorbed by the red blood cells and transported around our body to all of the organs. More oxygen means more energy. Focusing in a gentle way on our breath, also means we can stop the stressful thoughts that can race around in our minds. Yoga breathing (Pranayama) is particularly effective and easy to do – anytime, anywhere.
ALTERNATE NOSTRIL BREATHING
You use your thumb and ring finger of your right hand to block the nostrils – read the instructions first, then click on the image above for an animated version!
- Start by exhaling from both nostrils.
- Use your thumb of your right hand to block off your right nostril.
- Breath in through your left nostril to a slow count of 4.
- Close off your left nostril with your ring finger
- Release your thumb – Exhale through your right nostril to a slow count of 4
- Breath in through your right nostril to a slow count of 4
- Close off your right nostril with your thumb – and exhale through your left nostril again to a slow count of 4. Return to No.2 to continue the practice.
This is one round. Practice for five rounds to start with then increase to ten for a while and by five rounds at a time. Close your eyes to increase concentration. You can support your elbows with your left hand.
Close RIGHT – Inhale LEFT
Close LEFT – Exhale RIGHT
Inhale RIGHT – Close RIGHT
A Simple yet powerful way to calm the mind and body!
Traditional Yoga Breathing.
Breathe in slowly for a count of four, then breathe out slowly for a count of six. You can vary this rhythm to suit your natural breathing pattern. You may like to breathe in for a count of six and out for a count of eight. Extending the exhalation calms down the central nervous system and is very good to do if you feel stressed .
Breath and Visualisation
The mind is very powerful and many chemicals within our body can be altered by both the breathing and visualisation. Much research has been done on this (Dr Bruce Lipton, Dr Candace Pert, and David Hamilton PhD, to name just three recent scientists who research this subject) You can combine the second breathing practice with visualising a healing energy or light moving from the top of your head down to your toes – or focusing on specific organs. In the case of extreme stress, anxiety and overwhelm, the adrenals, hypothalamus and pituitary (the last two both in the brain) along with the heart are prime target areas. This has been shown to alter serotonin within the brain (the feel good chemical) along with various neurotransmitters and it is suggested that it affects the cellular structures of these glands/organs too.
Just by taking a few minutes during your day to practice one of these breathing techniques can make a significant difference – calm your mind, increase energy, get clarity, slow down…practice daily for 10 days and notice the difference!