Pranayama. Cool Mind. Hot Body.

What is Pranayama?

Pranayama (breath work) is a Sanskrit word that is translated to mean “life-force or life-energy”. As Goswami Kriyandanda says in his book Extraordinary Spiritual Potential, “In yoga, the depth and concentration of the mind are not so dependent upon willpower, as upon pranic power. Prana is the life-force or life-energy. It is not oxygen but something that exists beyond it. Prana is contained in the water you drink, the oxygen you breathe, the sunlight you absorb and live in, the food you eat, and is the essence of life.” *

In pranayama (breath work), we fully open to feeling alive within ourselves. We breathe deeper and more fully. We relax into the moment. We feel deeply and passionately. We feel that we are in the flow. We bring into the world the beautiful expression of who we truly are. 

When you experience stressful thoughts, practice pranayama to help you tap into your parasympathetic nervous system (rest and digest) to help you relax and detach from the emotional turbulence in the mind.

*Goswami Kriyandanda, Extraordinary Spiritual Potential (Chicago: The Temple of Kriya Yoga, 1988), 4.

 

  • Oxygenates the blood and removes carbon dioxide.
  • Detoxifies the mind and body.
  • Builds energy.
  • Creates a feeling of connection.
  • Calms the mind and nervous system.
  • Stores considerable amounts of energy (prana) in the body.
  • Attunes the mind to positivity.

 

Right now, try this instant soothing breathing technique to feel the relaxing effects to your parasympathetic nervous  system (rest and digest). Practice the So Hum breath technique for 3-5 breath cycles. 

  1. Sit on a blanket in Sukhasana (easy crossed-legged pose). Or, sit on a comfortable chair with your feet connected to the earth.
  2. Take a big deep breath in through the nose with a resounding “SOOOOOOOOOO.” 
  3. Hold (retain) the breath for 3-5  breath counts without strain.
  4. Then, slowly exhale through the nose with a resounding “HUUUUUUUUUUUUUM.”
  5. Hold (retain) the breath for 3-5 counts without strain. 
  6. Set a timer and practice So Hum breathing for 3-5 minutes.

Practice Shiva Mudra – Mudras are sacred hand gestures that helps us gather energy. You use this hand mudra during the Alternate Nostril Breathing technique.

Take the index and middle fingers of your right hand and bend them into your palm. With a light pincher action, use the thumb to gently close off the right nostril and use the ring finger and little finger to gently close off the left nostril. Alternate between opening and shutting the nostrils using this techniques. Practice with your eyes closed or slightly open. Try to keep the flow of your breath continuous.

Alternate Nostril Breathing Technique  

First, read through the description below and do a practice run. This description equals one full alternate nostril breath cycle. It is recommended to repeat the cycle seven times. 

  1. Sit on a blanket in Sukhasana (easy crossed-legged pose). Or, sit on a comfortable chair with your feet connected to the earth.
  2. Exhale twice to the left through the mouth (purifies). 
  3. Gently connect the index and middle fingers next to the left nostril. 
  4. Gently press the thumb against the right nostril to block the air from entering. 
  5. Inhale through the left nostril for 3-6 counts.
  6. Retain (hold) the breath for 1-2 counts.
  7. Gently close the left nostril with the index and middle fingers.
  8. Take the thumb away from the right nostril to open. 
  9. Exhale through the right nostril for 3-6 counts.
  10. Retain (hold) the breath for 1-2 counts.
  11. Keep the right nostril gently open. 
  12. Keep the left nostril gently closed.
  13. Inhale through the right nostril for 3-6 counts.
  14. Retain (hold) the breath for 1-2 counts.
  15. Gently close the right nostril with right thumb.
  16. Gently open the left nostril with the left index and middle fingers.
  17. Exhale through the left nostril for 3-6 counts.
  18. Retain (hold) the breath for 1-2 counts.
  19. Begin your second breath cycle.
  20. Keep the thumb gently pressed against the right nostril to block the air from entering.
  21. Return to your inhalation through the left nostril for 3-6 counts. 

Ujjayi breath is also called “oceans breath.” Your breath will sound like the waves of the ocean. Ujjayi breath has a characteristic sound that is created by decreasing the size of the back of the throat. Practice feeling the “oceans breath” without wondering if you are getting it right or not.

Ujjayi Breathing Technique

  1. Sit on a blanket in Sukhasana (easy crossed-legged pose). Or, sit on a comfortable chair with your feet connected to the earth.
  2. Gently seal your lips and connect with your breath, moving air in and out of your nasal passage (nostrils).
  3. As you exhale through your nostrils gently constrict the muscles in the back of your throat (windpipe area).
  4. If you’re having trouble getting the right sound for your breath, try making the sound “HAAAAH” on your out breath. Feel the outflow of air through your nasal passages.
  5. Once you have mastered this on the out breath, use the same method for the in breath gently constricting the back of your throat as you inhale.
  6. Set a timer and practice ujjayi breath for 3-5 minutes.

Join Us. Virtual Yoga Classes.
December 5-6, 2020

ZOOM ON! YOGA CLASSES
 

 

EXPLORE

What Others Have To Say

ASSOCIATIONS & AFFILIATIONS