5 Pranayama Techniques For Beginners
The ancient yogis used the breath to drop into higher states of consciousness, relax the nervous system, and experience more expanded states of being- and you can too!
SEE ALSO: How To Cultivate Everyday Compassion
This is such a wonderful breath for beginners because it’s so simple…yet so powerful.
This pranayama is also incredibly versatile – you can do it lying on your back, sitting in a chair or cross-legged, standing, walking– pretty much anywhere.
All you do is place one or both hands on your belly and breathe deeply into the abdominal cavity, feeling your tummy expand on an inhale and contract on an exhale.
Closing your eyes as you do this helps you relax and focus on the breath.
This one’s rather playful and fun to do when you really need to practice pratyahara, or the withdrawal of the senses.
It’s best done sitting in a simple crossed-legged position.
All you do is close your eyes and cover them with your fingertips while covering your ears with your thumbs.
Breathe in through the nose and exhale through the mouth while making a humming sound – like that of a bumblebee.
Really allow the vibration of this breath to pulse through your entire body.
Do this when you need to take a quick break from the stimuli of modern day living.
Practice the bumblebee breath for as long as you like.
Alternate nostril breathing, also known as nadi shodhana, is one of the most popular yogic breathing techniques.
It’s also the most complicated on our list, but once you get the hang of it, it’s really quite simple.
Again, this one is best done seated in a simple cross-legged position.
Here’s what you do: take your right hand and cover your left nostril with your ring finger, the right nostril with your thumb.
Do the reverse if you’re left-handed.
Let the pinky and pointer fingers curl inward while placing the middle finger over your third eye.
To begin, press the ring finger over the left nostril and inhale through the right.
After you’ve fully inhaled, cover your right nostril with your thumb and exhale through the left.
Now, inhale through the left, cover the left nostril with the ring finger and exhale out the right.
Repeat this sequence as many times as you wish, keeping the eyes closed and focused upon the third eye.
This is a great one to balance the nervous system, instill a sense of focus, or bring greater ease to the mind before sleep.
Complete Yogic Breath
This is a good breathing practice to do as you’re walking the dog or even if you’re lying in bed at night, willing yourself to go back to sleep.
All you do is inhale to a count of 4, hold for a count of 4, and exhale to a count of 4.
This one is done using the ujjayi breath if it’s familiar to you or just breathing as feels natural.
It’s a simple technique that calms the mind and relaxes the nervous system.
The “Let Go” Breath
This one’s even simpler than the last.
On an inhale say to yourself “let,” and on an exhale say to yourself, “go.”
You can do this sitting, standing or walking, but it seems to be most effective lying on your back in savasana as you truly “let go.”
Do this one several times as you imagine any tension in the body and/or mind floating and falling away.
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