Sunday, April 17, 2011

Breathing

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pic credit - markuso; freedigitalphotos.net
               I've stuck to an extremely simple form of Pranayama or in other words, an effort to "control" or "draw out" the life force. There are numerous definitions. A definition sourced from wikipedia, states that pranayama is the trance induced by stopping all breathing. Getting there would be some sort of culmination for me! I try very simple breath control.
              It is recommended that it be learned under the guidance of a teacher. Not all techniques are for everyone. The techniques range from forced exhalation to a complete stop in breathing by blocking air with your tongue. Considering the myriad ailments possible in people today, one has to be very careful about opting for the most effective method.
             At it's simplest, it provides increased oxygenation, reduces the harmful effects of respiratory conditions, provides relaxation, clears the mind, allows greater agility and absolutely improves concentration, lifts a depressed mood and eventually, through sustained careful practice, reduces blood pressure as well.
            This simple pranayam is called Anulom-Vilom. Yes! So,
  • Don't do this right after a meal. Allow a three hour gap at least, after food.
  • Find a comfy spot - help yourself by opening the windows etc
  • Don't slouch! - Allow the lungs to expand fully. Slouching does not allow the bottom reaches to be fully oxygenated.
  • If you live in humid weather as I do, you start by breathing through the left nostril. If you live in a place that is currently cold, start through your right nostril.
  • Blow out a breath completely - don't do this in a rush. A gradual exhalation will allow your lungs to empty substantially.
  • Now use the thumb, compress the right nostril closed, and breathe in through the left nostril.
  • Hold your breath.
  • Change sides by using the forefinger to compress the left nostril closed.
  • Blow out air through the right nostril.
  • Inhale through the right nostril.
  • Hold your breath.
  • Change sides using the forefinger to compress the right nostril closed
  • Breathe out air through the left nostril.
  • Inhale through the left nostril and repeat as discussed.

pic credit - Danilo Rizzuti, freedigitalphotos.net
As the monk I talk about so often told a bunch of us, it helps balance the mind. When we say that someone is left brained or right brained, we mean that they present with and prefer the behavioral and intellectual qualities governed by each hemisphere of the brain. This breathing exercise brings about balance in the way we use our brain. It brings another perspective to a logical thinker and more logic to an artistic, emotional person.

For me, the calm it brings is a true gift! It might be for you too :-)




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