Learn to Relax
August 24, 2010 · Posted in Adult Children, Buddhism/Parenting, Communication, Mental Health · Permalink

The following exercises are ancient yoga breathing techniques shared by Francesca Bove, a registered yoga instructor in New York City.  One is called Sama Vritti Pranayama or “same length breathe”; the other is “alternate nostral breathing” or Nadi Shodhana in Sanskrit. These both work to calm the mind and body, clearing the way for sound thinking. Enjoy!

Sama Vritti Pranayama

Benefits: Calms the body and focuses the mind.

Instructions:

1. Come to sit in a comfortable, cross-legged position or on a chair with your feet flat on the ground and your knees hip width distance apart. Take padding under your seat as necessary.

2. Close your eyes and begin to notice your natural breath, not changing anything at first.

3. Begin a slow count to four as you inhale. Then also count to four as you exhale. The exercise is to match the length of your inhale and exhale.

4. You may experiment with changing the number you count to, just make sure your inhale and exhale stay the same length.

5. Continue breathing this way for several minutes.

Nadi Shodhana

The term nadi shodhana means the purification of the nerves.

1. Sit in a comfortable cross legged position, spine straight, shoulders down, and relaxed. Head centered between the shoulders, chin tipped slightly downward, eyes closed. Use the thumb, and fourth finger (ring finger) of your right hand. The two middle fingers can rest gently on your forehead. To avoid strain in the neck, and shoulders, keep them closed into the palm. The pinky is not in use.

2. Gently close your right nostril with your thumb. Inhale through your left nostril, then close it with your ring-little fingers. Open and exhale slowly through the right nostril.

3. Keep the right nostril open, inhale, then close it, and open and exhale slowly through the left. This is one cycle.

4. Repeat 3 to 5 times, then release the hand position and go back to normal breathing.

Benefits

Lowers heart rate and reduces stress and anxiety

Said to synchronize the two hemispheres of the brain

Said to purify the subtle energy channels (nadis) of the body so the prana flows more easily during pranayama practice

Special Note:

Do not force the breath in any way. At the slightest sign of discomfort reduce the time of each inhalation, and exhalation or discontinue the practice, and check with a health professional.

Alternate nostril breathing should not be practiced if your nasal passages are blocked in any way. Forced breathing through the nose may lead to complications.


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