Wednesday, March 20, 2013

The Breath: Part Three


5. Nadi Shodhana: Also known as Alternate Nostril Breathing.  One of my favorites! I use this any time of day, typically when I'm feeling stressed out or am having trouble sleeping.  Practicing Nadi Shodhana really helps you stay in the present moment because your mind is focused on maintaining the rhythmic movement.  This is a calming technique.

How to: Using your right hand,  take your peace fingers (used to make the hand gesture for peace, y'know? Your pointer and middle fingers) and place them in the center of your forehead.  Block the right nostril with your thumb and inhale through the left.  Promptly remove your thumb and use your ring finger to block the left nostril, exhaling through the right.  Inhale right, switch fingers again, exhaling through the left.  Repeat this until you feel your breathing is even, or when you feel relaxed. Take a few regular deep breaths.  Here is the video instruction.

6. Lion’s Breath: I'm just going to say it: this exercise is kind of ridiculous lol I don't practice this one as enthusiastically as others might.  My research suggests this helps with bad breath, speech problems, and confidence.  I don't practice this often either, but I when I do it's kind of a confidence booster, like roaring like a lion!  I practice Lion's Breath when my jaw feels tight. It helps!

How to: Inhale completely through the nose, and then open the mouth wide, sticking the tongue out, and exhale with a long, audible "ha" sound - like a roar!  Click for video!

7. Sitali or Cooling Breath: The purpose of this practice is to cool the body, whether it be from warm weather, physical heat caused from exercise, or even anger.

How to:  Curl the tongue and let it protrude just past the lips.  Inhale smoothly and deeply through the tongue and mouth.  Exhale through the nose.  Repeat several times.  Click here for a video.

8. "Horsey Lips": 
Another sort of silly one, this is something I use often when I'm nervous or stressed, and  mostly in the car, actually.  It really relaxes the muscles in the face and just making a sound feels detoxing or like a release.

How to: Take a deep breath in through the nose, and then exhale through the mouth, keeping the lips together, which makes the lips "buzz."  The sound is similar to a horse exhaling.  I couldn't find a video for this one, sorry!

Hope you enjoyed our exploration in breath science, let me know how your practice is going if you wish!  Feel free to look back on the first and second part of this topic if you haven't already :)

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