6 Pranayama Practices that IMPROVE Your Life

Through Pranayama Practices (Breath Work) you can reduce ALL of your mental noise-the agitation, distractions, & self-doubt-that prevents you from connecting to your TRUE SELF.

Pranayama or Breath Regulation is an essential component of Yoga. The forth of the eight limbs of Yoga outlined in Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras. Pranayama means “to extend the vital life force.” This rich practice has many breathing techniques that vary in complexity from ones simple enough for a child, to those for advanced practitioners. Pranayama practices reduce stress & anxiety, promote restful sleep, eases pain, increases attention & focus, and on a more subtle level, helps people connect to a calm, quiet place within so that they can experience a Free State of Mind.

Basic Breath Awareness-Just being aware of your breath helps your brain to regulate and organize itself! Sit back, place your hands on your belly and feel your body breathe with this 4-Minute Basic Breath Awareness exercise.
Ujjayi Pranayama (Ocean Breath or Victorious Breath) is the classic Pranayama practice, it’s know for its soothing sound of crashing ocean waves. The vibrations in the larynx stimulate sensory receptors that signal the vagus nerve to induce a calming effect (The Healing Power of Breath).
Nadi Shodhana or Alternative Nostril Breathing calms the nervous system, lowers your heart rate, reduces stress & anxiety, enhances your ability to concentrate & is synchronizes the two hemispheres of the brain.
Kumbhaka-We practice this Breath Work to stabilize & control our mind, balance our feminine & masculine energy, and increase blood to the BRAIN. This soothing Breath Work stimulates the Vagus Nerve, which impacts the sympathetic nervous system. The “Fight-or-Flight” response is SLOWED to “Rest-&-Digest.” This reduces the heart rate which keeps Blood Pressure in control.
Kapalbhati | Breath of Fire– Many people learn to breathe backwards (this is NOT good): they inhale by pulling the belly in, thus making the space for the breath less rather than more. This is called paradoxical breathing. People who are often anxious or smoke frequently tend to have this pattern. It can be easily changed by placing one hand on the chest and one on the belly and doing this pranayama slowly with total awareness.
Lion’s Breath releases stress and tension from the body & mind. It stretches the muscles and stimulates the nerves in the face, thereby relieving tension and improving circulation. It is also a warming breath, helping to increase internal fire in preparation for Asana. Lion’s Breath boost confidence and the ability to utilize one’s voice, but simultaneously calming stress, anger and disquiet in the mind.

By: Krystal Denham

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