Monday, March 25, 2013

alternate nostril breathing

Sarah Bowker shares how you can use the breath to create more energy and how to settle down and relax. When you need a quick fix, there is nothing more readily available than your sweet awesome breath. Enjoy Friends.

My “go-to” breath: alternate nostril breathing
Our breath serves many functions.  One of the most important functions our breath has is to move our prana, or energy, throughout our body.

Close your eyes, and take a breath.  Can you feel the skin stretch and the lungs expand as you filled the body with your inhale?  Can you feel the body settle back into place on the exhale?
Now, take a breath, and imagine taking that breath in through your hands.  Feel the inhale travel up from the palms of your hands, along the arms, all the way to the top of your head.  Exhale, feel the breath move back down, from your head, along your arms, and out your hands.  Take a few breaths this way.  This type of breath visualization can help us to move our prana in our body. 

Cool, huh?

Just like yoga poses assist in toning, strengthening, stretching, and balancing the physical body, there are different breath techniques we can use to balance our energetic/vital/breath body. 
Let us take a quick look at the yin/yang concept of energy.

At all times, our body’s energy lies somewhere along a continuum between yin and yang.  However, our energy cannot be completely yin, or completely yang (see symbol below); without the presence of yin, we cannot know yang, and vice versa. Here are the commonly used adjectives to help describe the tendencies of yin and yang:

















We can easily change the energetic balance of our bodies using our breath.  How?  Our body’s access to yin and yang energy is through our nose.  Our left nostril helps to increase the yin energy in our body, while the right nostril helps to increase the yang energy in our body.
The breath exercise used to balance the yin and yang energies of the body is called nadi shodhana, or alternate nostril breathing. It involves exhaling and inhaling through one nostril, and then switching sides to exhale and then inhale, and so on.  The fingers can be used to lightly seal the nostril not being used to breathe, or just visualization can be used.

Yoga journal has a great tutorial:
Alternate nostril breathing is a quick and effective way to prepare the energetic body for meditation.  It also helps to slow the breath down.

Feeling sleepy?  A few breaths in and out your right nostril will give you an energetic boost!
Feeling jittery, and unable to relax?  A few breaths in and out your left nostril will mellow you out.

Give it a try, and let me know how it goes!

1 comment:

Misty said...

I love this and it comes at a great time. I have plans to teach this at my Thursday class at the library, not something I teach often. Can't wait to share this with the students.