Archive for Yoga Breathing Techniques – Pranayama

Using Breathing Techniques For Self Healing – Headaches, Migraines, Tiredness

Good afternoon, dear friends 😀

I received this interesting email (quoted below the picture) on using the breathing through our respective nostrils to heal certain aspects of our lives.  As always, I am interested in natural remedies for health and thought you may be interested in this form of healing. This technique is known in Yoga as “Pranayama.”

The connection that the breath has to our physical, emotional, and spiritual health has been well recognized by healing traditions of both East and West.  In Chinese, the character    (Qì), is used to represent both the vital energetic force which sustains all living beings as well as the breath itself. In both Chinese and Indian systems of self-healing, the breath and vital force are said to move together; they are inseparable.  Many techniques of manipulating the breath have been devised to support physical health, establish a balanced and well-adjusted emotional temperament, and assist with spiritual growth.

The picture below suggests that we open the four fingers while pressing on one nostril with our thumb. However, most yoga instrutors would teach us to curl our index and middle fingers into our palm, let our ring finger and pinkie relax, and have our thumb pressing close one nostril. Try both techniques to see which is more suitable for you…

breathing-techniques

Our noses have left and right nostrils. Are these nostrils having the same function for inhaling (breathe in) and exhaling (breathe out)?
Actually it’s not the same and we can feel the difference. Accordingly, the right side represents the sun and the left side represents the moon.
When having headache, try to close your right nostril and use your left nostril to do breathing for about 5 min. The headache will be gone.
If you feel too tired, do it the opposite way. Close your left nostril and breathe through your right nostril. After a while, you will feel refresh again.
Because the right side belongs to heat, so it gets hot easily. The left side gets cold easily.
Women breathe mainly with their left nostril, so they get calm down easily.
Men breathe mostly with their right nostril, so they get angry easily.!
When we wake up, do we notice which nostril breathes faster? Is it the left side or the right side?
If the left nostril breathes faster, you will feel very tired. Close your left nostril and use your right nostril for breathing and you will get refresh quickly.
You can teach your kids about it. The effect of breathing therapy is much better for adults.
I used to have painful headache. When consulted a doctor, he told me jokingly,” You will be all right if you get married!” The doctor did not bullshit me as he had his theory and supported with testimony.
During that time, I used to have headache every night and I was not able to study. I took medicine but I was not cured.
One night as I sat down to medidate, I closed my right nostril and breathed with my left nostril. In less than a week, it seemed that my headache problem had left me! I continued doing it for about a month and since then there was no recurrence of head! ache in me. This is my own experienc! e. I used to tell others who also suffer headache to try this method as it was effective for me. It also works for those who have tried as well. This is a natural therapy, unlike taking medicines for a long time may have side effect. So, why don’t you try it out?
Practice the correct ways of breathing (breathe in and breathe out) and your body will be in a very relaxing condition

Our noses have left and right nostrils. Are these nostrils having the same function for inhaling (breathe in) and exhaling (breathe out)?


Actually it’s not the same and we can feel the difference. Accordingly, the right side represents the sun and the left side represents the moon.


When having headaches, try to close your right nostril and use your left nostril to do breathing for about 5 min. The headache will be gone.


If you feel too tired, do it the opposite way. Close your left nostril and breathe through your right nostril. After a while, you will feel refreshed  again.


Because the right side belongs to heat, so it gets hot easily. The left side gets cold easily.


Women breathe mainly with their left nostril, so they get calmed down easily.


Men breathe mostly with their right nostril, so they get angry easily.!


When we wake up, do we notice which nostril breathes faster? Is it the left side or the right side?


If the left nostril breathes faster, you will feel very tired. Close your left nostril and use your right nostril for breathing and you will get refreshed quickly.

You can teach your kids about it. The effect of breathing therapy on them is much better  than for adults.


At one time,  I used to have headaches  every night and I was not able to study. I took medication for them but I was not cured.


One night as I sat down to medidate, I closed my right nostril and breathed with my left nostril. In less than a week, it seemed that my headache problem had left me! I continued doing it for about a month and since then there was no recurrence of head! ache in me. This is my own experience!

I used to tell others who also suffer from headaches to try this method as it was effective for me. It also worked for those who have tried this breathing techniques as well. This is a natural therapy, unlike taking medicines for a long time, which may have negative side effects.

So, why don’t you try this breathing techniques out?

Practise the correct ways of breathing (breathe in and breathe out) and your body will be in a very relaxing condition!

With best wishes for good health,

choesf 😀

Comments (37) »

Yoga Technique To Prevent Lower Back Injury

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Hi there, dear friends, 😀

Since I picked up Yoga 3 weeks ago, I have learned a few techniques that have helped me tremendously (aside from the slimming or toning aspects) in my life – specifically on injuries related to my strenuous house chores, like mopping the floors, picking up heavy things, bending a lot, and so on. I have had a lower back slipped disc injury many years ago and whenever I bend often in my work, I usually end up with lower back pains for days.

But since I have been applying this Yoga method whenever I have to exert myself or bend over too much, I am very happy to say that now I no longer have lower backaches! 😀

This Yoga technique is called a Mula Bandha or a Root Lock, one of the three Bandhas (Locks) that were taught by my Yoga instructor. (I will describe the other equally good Bandhas later on.) Basically, we apply this interior lock whenever we have to bend over to lift something heavy, do strenuous activities, or like in my case, having to put my whole weight on my mop to wring it dry. In addition to protecting our spine, this Mula Bandha also have other good health benefits.

Benefits

1) Increases flexibility of our spine and stimulates heat (good for those of you who feel cold during winter?)

2) Helps to prevent back injury by guiding us to move from our centre of body – when we have this lock in our lower spine, our back is stronger.

3) Ovaries in the female and the prostate gland in the male receive an increased flow of blood circulation. For ladies, this will benefit those with irregular mentrual periods.

4) Helps to prevent haemorrhoids.

5) Beneficial for toning up the kidneys and bladders.

6) Good for those with incontinence problems that most ladies would often get when they reach middle age.

Method

Mula Bandha focuses on those muscles that form a sling in our pelvis, from the pubis in front to the coccyx at the back. These muscles support the upper part of our vagina, the uterus, the rectum, the bladder and the prostate. We ladies usually know this technique as Kegels’ Exercises, which is often prescribed by gynaecologists after childbirth. For men, the area of these muscles can be identified by imagining that you are urinating and that you must stop the flow of urine by using (or contracting) these muscles.

When the Mula Bandha is engaged, we prevent prana (chi or lifeforce) from escaping from our lower body and prana flow is directed in the body. That is why heat is generated internally when prana or chi is flowing well in us. This lock is also used during Yoga asanas (postures) to prevent injury.

1) Sit comfortably on the floor or on a chair, or stand up in a relaxed manner.

2) Take a few breaths slowly, counting 1 to 4 for each inhalation and exhalation.

3) After you have exhaled completely, hold your breath and start contracting your pelvis muscles, as if you are stopping the flow of urine during a pee. For beginners, this will take a short time for you to get used to this step. Contract the muscles as much as you can …..and then, LOCK them in place.

4) With the Mula Bandha or LOCK engaged, continue to breathe in slowly and do normal breathing a few times.

5) Release the Mula Bandha or Root Lock, and repeat steps 3 and 4 again. Do this about 5 times or more if you wish or are able to.

This really beneficial Yoga technique can be done a few times a day…for me, I often have to engage the Mula Bandha when I am mopping the floor, when I reach down to pick up things, and even when I am sitting in front of the PC. It helps my spine to be firm and strong.

Note – DO NOT do the Mula Bandha if you are pregnant, having your menses, or right after a meal (best is 2 to 3 hours after a meal).

For those of you that often get lower back pains like me, I hope you will try to do this Yoga Technique and later say “Bye Bye” to your backaches! 😉

Comments (3) »

Yoga Breathing For Purification and Detoxification – Kapalabhati Kriya

Good morning, dear friends 😀

The first of the Pranayama techniques that I am going to describe here is called the “Kapalabhati” or “Frontal Brain Cleaning Breath.” It is also known as the “Shining Skull” because the name is derived from the physiological process whereby the cerebral spinal fluid, which changes pressure according to rhythmic normal breathing or respiration, receives a tremendous shift of pressure through forceful and swift exhalations.

This creates a massaging effect on the brain, enlivening and energising every cell, and creating an aura of light and vitality in the brain. In addition, through the rapid succession of sharp expulsions of the breath, the nasal passages are cleaned and purified.

Also, when you are using your abdomen muscles (by sucking in hard using your muscles) to push your diaphragm which in turn pushes out the air from your lungs, you will benefit from a well-toned and flatter abdomen. After doing this Yoga Pranayama exercise for more than a week now, the flab at my abdomen is much reduced and my stomach is more muscular. Also, I’m not sure if this is a side effect but it seems that my stomach size (and capacity?) has became smaller, which is good, because now I consume less food per meal and I already feel very full! 😀

Benefits of doing the Kapalabhati are –

  • It also aids in curing consumption (old term for tuberculosis), removes impurities fo the blood, and tones up the circulatory and respiratory systems.
    • Clears out the stale, residual air in the lungs and saturates the cells with oxygen and prana/lifeforce energy.
    • Releases large amounts of carbon dioxide and toxins, thereby purifying the body. Persons suffering from asthma will find this very helpful.
    • Strengthens the diaphragm, the heart and the entire nervous system.
  • Energizes, revitalizes and recharges the entire system with prana and stimulates cellular metabolism (a great for a pick me up instead of coffee or tea 😉 )
  • Brings mental clarity and alertness.
  • Gives a deep, stimulating massage to the abdominal organs. The constant movements of the diaphragm up and down act as a stimulant to the stomach, liver and pancreas. So, people who suffering from abdominal disorders like bloatedness, wind, gastroenteritis will find this breathing exercise very effective.

*** Warning! Please don’t do the Kapalabathi if you are experiencing any of the following –

  • Pregnancy,
  • menstruation,
  • pneumothorax
  • unmedicated high blood pressure,
  • recent surgery, injury or inflammation of the abdominal or thoracic region (colitis, cancer, hernia, active stomach ulcer, emphysema or heart conditions)
  • High Blood Pressure
  • Also, please do this exercise at least 2 hours after food, and wait at least 1 hour before having food.

    Instructions.

    1. Sit comfortably with your spine erect. On the floor or on a straight backed chair.
    2. Take a few deep breaths slowly (by counting from 1 to 4 for each inhalation and each exhalation) and relax – allow for a free flow of breath.
    3. Inhale deeply and feel your belly expand. If you can’t feel your belly, you can put one palm on it to feel the rising and falling with your breath. This is what they call “breathing all the way to your stomach.”
    4. Exhale forcefully through the nostrils by contracting the abdominal muscles – i.e. use your whole abdomen to help push out the air as your lungs are deflating until there is no more air/carbon dioxide to let go.
    5. Then, your lungs will automatically let in oxygen and this is known as passively (spontaneous free natural ) allow the inhalation to happen. Repeat this several times slowly (up to 5 times; when this is comfortable can increase to 20).
    6. Gradually pick up the pace to find your own rhythm.
    7. After each round, exhale completely, holding the breath out briefly, like for 2 seconds. Inhale when needed, holding the breath in briefly. Exhale when ready and repeat or return to normal respiration

    ** Note – be sure that the exhalations are an active act (mindfully using your stomach muscles to push out carbon dioxide from your lungs), whilst the inhalations are passive (automatic when your lungs are starved of oxygen and you will gasp to let in air into your lungs)
    Feel yourself energised and alert after doing this breathing exercise and know that you have also “worked” out your internal organs, as well as in removing toxins from your body! 😀

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    Introduction To Yoga Breathing Techniques – Pranayama

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    Good morning, dear friends 😀

    Yesterday, I went for my weekly Yoga class and learned a few techniques of breathing, called “Pranayama” or the science of breath control. My Yoga class was held at night and by the time I finished some chores and got into bed, it was quite late. But despite having just a few hours of sleep as I got up at 6am, I woke up with such a fresh in invigorating mind and body this morning, which I concluded must be a result of yesterday’s effective Pranayama exercise….because yesterday morning, I was fuzzy headed after I woke up and I have to wait for my tea to “kick start” my system! 🙄

    In the Sanskrit language, “Prana” means lifeforce or universal energy and “Ayama” means to lengthen or extend, and in Pranayama, it is the controlling or regulation of our breaths. Actual, advanced Pranayama should be practised with a Yoga teacher  but I am just going to describe some very basic but extremely health beneficial Pranayama methods that were taught by my Yoga instructor in my next few posts here.

    Several researchers have reported that Pranayama techniques are beneficial in treating a range of stress related disorders, improving autonomic functions, relieving symptoms of asthma, and reducing signs of oxidative stress.

    Scientists have discovered that the chemical basis of energy production in the body is a chemical called “Adenosine Triphosphate” (ATP).  When something goes wrong with the production of ATP,  the result is lowered vitality, disease and premature aging.

    Scientists have also reported that oxygen is critical to the production of ATP in our body. In fact, it is the most vital component. Yoga allows us to tap into this vital nutrient.

    In our normal breathing, our breathing is often too shallow or too quick. We are not taking in sufficient oxygen and we are not eliminating enough carbon dioxide, and as a result,  our body cells actually get insuffient oxygen, and the carbon dioxide toxicity slowly builds up in our body.  Shallow breathing also does not exercise our lungs enough and our lungs lose some of their funtion, thus causing a loss in vitality.  So, we need to breathe more deeply and slowly.

    Why do we breathe fast and shallow, and that has become the norm for us? Well, there are a few reasons for this –

    1) Our lifestyle these days are such that we are in a hurry most of the time, e.g. I rush in my house chores trying to get them done quickly, in between I drive my kids to and from their schools, plus I have to get our meals ready in time, etc. These days, I am trying to slow down and take more time-outs just for a breather. Our movements and breathing will follow this “hurried” pattern. 

    2) Stress makes us breathe less deeply and more quickly.

    3) We get too emotional easily – we are stressed, we have anxiety, we are under pressure from heavy workload, we are sad in our relationships, etc … these negative states of emotions affect the rate of breathing, causing it to be fast and shallow. Our heart beats faster….

    4) Modern and sedentary lifestyles reduces our need for active, physical activities. When I was attending school, I would take the bus and walk long distances in between to go where I wanted. But these days, I am driving myself….and not walking enough! 🙄  So, there is less need to breathe deeply and therefore, we develop a shallow breathing habit.

    As we go through life, these bad breathing habits that we have picked up become part of our life….but we can do something about it ===> by recognising and changing our behavioural patterns, and engage in more beneficial deep breathing.

    You may be surprised but actually, a good laugh is a fantastic way of replenishing our oxygen level at cellular level. Laughter also results in our brain producing endorphins, a feel good hormone. Hehe, earlier I read briefly that there is something called “Laughing Yoga” but I will leave that for another day.

    Meanwhile, I think this form of Yoga will be especially good for smokers who definitely inhale much less oxygen and take in more toxins into their bodies than us non-smokers (my husband is a heavy smoker and I am trying very hard to get him to go for Yoga class with me next week!)  😆

    In my next few posts after this, I will provide instructions on how to do Pranayama for great health! 😉

    Have a wonderful day today! 😀

    Comments (11) »

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