Life begins with our first breath and ends with our last breath. Our way of breathing has a profound impact on our quality of life. These breathing exercises are ones I teach in my weekly yoga classes and I thought maybe all you li.sters might learn a thing or two about pranayama.
  1. Ocean Sounding Breath
    The fundamental breath which accompanies all yoga postures and movements. Start by contracting the back of your throat and making a hissing sound (or Darth Vadar or fogging your sunglasses) noise. Make this sound as you slowly inhale and exhale. You can make this sound as you exhale with your mouth open in the beginning but eventually you'll want your mouth closed the entire time. BENEFITS: provides a deep focus for mental concentration, relaxes the body, and stimulates circulation.
  2. Circular Breath
    Sit in a relaxed position. Start: notice the slight pause at the beginning of the inhalation and exhalation. Now connect the exhalation with the inhalation by immediately beginning the opposite, closing the gap. Observe the circular movement of breath. Repeat for 3-mins drawing your concentration to the sound of the breath. When finished sit for a minute and notice the effects on your mind and mood. BENEFITS: increased emotional calmness, provided access to suppressed feelings, relives stress.
  3. 5-5-5 Breath
    This is a breathing technique that Navy Seals use when they are in intense, high stress situations and they need to calm their bodies adrenal response and prevent fight or flight. Sit comfortably. Start: exhale all the air out of your lungs. Inhale for a count of 5. Drop your chin to your chest and hold for 5. Exhale slowly for a count of 5. Repeat for 2-mins to stop the release of cortisol from the adrenal glands.
  4. Breath of Gratitude
    Lie on your bed. Take one hand over your belly, the other over your heart. Breath deeply into your belly and feel that hand rise up. As you inhale breath in something that you're grateful for. As you exhale, feel your other hand sink down on your heart. As the air leaves release something in your life that's not working for you right now. Keep going. Choose the same things or mix it and choose different things to be grateful for/not working with each breath.