I could load this section up with more to-dos for the next two weeks, but I am not going to do that. Instead – I think it’s time we have a talk. I know the city is fun for parties, networking and recreational food and drink. But sometimes you have to take a step back and take a deep breath.
So in this edition, we will be covering Pranayama. This is the part of Yoga that is strictly concerned with breathing. Pranayama is a Sanskrit word meaning “The practice (yama) of Breath (prana) or Life Force”. Breathing is the indicator that we are alive. If it is done wrongly, you may be at risk of harm. This is why it’s important to be learned in the art, before embarking. Instead of being fearful, be motivated to learn, breathe and feel differently than you have ever felt before. Below is an alternative technique of something called “Alternate Nostril Breath”. Keep in mind, that pranayama does not replace yoga nor is it the other way around either.
There are three stages of breathing:
- The smooth breathing that continues naturally without any effort, this is Quiet Breathing.
- The protracted breathing which is caused by deliberate slowing down of the breathing, which is Deep Breathing.
- The quick breathing which is caused by deliberate increase in the speed of breathing, called Fast Breathing.
|The first two fingers of the right hand palm are to be curved and last two fingers are to be kept straight and to be held together. Now straighten the thumb and bending the right hand in the elbow, place the curved fingers in such a way that they come near the lips. Keep the hand from shoulder to elbow glued to the chest. Keep the right hand thumb on the right side of the nose and last two fingers on the left side of the nose. Now by pressing the thumb, the nasal cavity on the right side can be closed and by pressing the last two fingers left side cavity can be closed. The pressure should be light and on just below the nasal bone, where the fleshy part begins. With this arrangement of the fingers, one can close any of the two nasal cavities. Here only the movement of thumb and the last two fingers is expected.|
Movement of other parts should be avoided. The face should be kept relaxed in order to practice breathing more effectively. Check out these six types of breathing you can do which are all quick-breaths. ** This is not for those with any blood pressure issues, pregnant women, children or a person suffering from an illness. You can also do these slowly, it’s a matter of preference.
Type – 1
Keep both the nostrils open and then inhale and exhale with both the nasal passages. This type is nothing but quick breathing with both the nasal cavities. One should inhale and exhale with as much speed as possible and for as much time as feasible.
Type – 2
Take up Pranava Mudra (the hand gesture shown above) and close the right nostril with the help of the thumb of the right hand, and inhale with left nostril and also exhale through the same nasal passage. In brief this type can be described as quick breathing with the left nostril.
Type – 3
In this type left nostril is to be closed and the quick breathing is done with the right nostril.
Type – 4
In this type close the right nostril, and inhale with the left nostril, and then immediately close left nostril and exhale with the right nostril. In this way try quick breathing by changing the nostrils.
Type – 5
This type of breathing is just opposite the previous one, that is, the left nostril is closed and inhaling is done with the right nostril, then immediately closing the right nostril, exhaling is done with the left nostril.
Type – 6
This type of breathing is designed by combining previous two types i.e., type 4 and type 5. First inhale with left nostril and exhale with right one, then inhale with right nostril and exhale with left nostril. Later continue the same process i.e. inhaling & exhaling with left and right nostrils alternately. Further switch to fast breathing by increasing the speed of breathing. After sufficient practice the speed of breathing can be increased immensely.
While practicing your pranayama, you can remain seated on the floor (or a hard surface) with your back straight and up against a wall. Or, you can sit in a chair. If you are flexible enough, take Butterfly pose or what is known as ‘Indian Style’.
Until next time kiddies, hopefully all that breathing will help tame the wild lion you have inside you until 2009. Get those Spiritual Hats on, and let’s change our inside world so that our outside world is a better one.
original post, 12/22/08, 9:00am