Hope you’ve had a great week thus far, I wanted to start sharing some of the breath work I've been doing while home through lockdown, to help settle the anxiety but also harness my peace :) this breath work is done somewhere between waking and the massive yawn that declares my existence. They are called Pranayama’s!
Pranayama is the practice of breath control in Yoga, a means of regulating your energies. Daily Pranayama trains the lungs and improves the capacity of the respiratory system incredibly, this converts into more comfort when we fill our lungs and hold our breath during Freediving.
There are endless Prana’s, but I focus on the following 3, they are incredibly helpful for me and in just 10 minutes you would have given your lungs some good exercise ;)
1. Alternative Nostril Breathing
Alternative Nostril breathing assists us with sharpening our concentration and mental clarity.
Sit in a comfortable position with your legs crossed, for this exercise you will be using your thumb and your ring finger, whichever hand you are most comfortable with.
Focus on having a straight back during all practice,
Using your thumb to close your one nostril, breath in through the other nostril, using your ring finger to close your nostril once you have taken your inhale, and hold only for a second, then release the thumb to exhale, at the end of your exhale, inhale again through the same nostril, close, hold for a second and exhale through the release of your ring finger.
Focus on having a straight back through this exercise and try working on a 1:2 ratio, so if you inhale for 4 seconds, exhale for 8 seconds. If this is difficult at first, start on a 1:1 ratio and amend as you grow in your daily practice.
You can do this continuously for 2 minutes (or more)
2. Alternate Nostril Breathing with a Hold
This breathing incorporates all the principles of the alternative nostril breathing technique, and incorporates a hold before you exhale.
Following on exercise number 1, you now incorporate a hold before the exhale. So you would Inhale through the 1 nostril, close the nostril and hold for 8 easy counts, then exhale and inhale again through the same nostril
This exercise can be done for 10 counts, and as you grow in your practice you can increase your hold to 16 counts, still focusing on a 1:2 inhale to exhale ratio.
3. Ujjayi Breath
Ujjayi breath is often referenced as ocean breathing, this is a technique that helps calm the mind and warm the body. In this breath you once again sit upright, and use your nose to breath in and out.
You breathe in through your nose, and with a slight constriction in your throat breathe out again through your nose, this should make an ocean sound. Its similar to how you would fog a glass, the same principle applies here.
This breath can be done for as long as you would like, but with a focus on calm, try to practice this for a minimum of 3 minutes. The inhale and exhale in this technique is 1:1, so if you inhale for 4 seconds, you would exhale for 4 seconds and repeat.
I've linked a video of the breath training here, do let me know how it goes!!
Massive love and light, and wishing you an awesome week!