Take a moment and harness the power of breath to access rest, relaxation and strength.
Have you ever Harnessed the Power of Your Breath?
Do you ever truly think about your breath?
Probably not because our breath is regulated automatically by our bodies. Meaning it is something automatically regulated and we do not need to think about breathing.
It’s one of those amazing things our body takes care of without us having to focus on.
In yoga we explore breath practices also known as pranayama which can be translated as: prana: life force energy and yama: to restrain or control.
When exploring pranayama in yoga we are manipulating our breath to serve a higher purpose and create wellness within the body and mind.
Our breath can create a calming effect on thoughts that are racing through our minds. The breath can calm anxiety, stress and bring us back to the present moment.
When we breathe we can’t breath into the future, we can’t breath into the past.
We only breathe in the present moment.
When we focus on the breath and come into the present moment our bodies and minds join us in the moment.
So with this how do know what breath practices are for us?
There are different types of breath practices for you to explore when you’re unsure of what may be right. Not all breath practices are for every one.
In order to determine what breath practices to explore for to support your journey, take a moment and tune into what you seeking. Do you want more energy, calm anxiety, relax from stress, open up lung capacity and create better health.
Exploring the breath can also be about exploring the subtle energies as well as accessing greater health and wellness period.
I believe breath is vital to support us on our journey. My students always share how much their lives shift when they implement a breath practice.
So let’s explore five tips to start a pranayama practice.
Tip #1 Practice with Kindness
When starting a new practice it is always important to remind yourself to be kind. Sometimes in our society we are expected to nail it or get it right or do it perfectly. I am encouraging you to explore the breath practice with an open and loving heart and give yourself grace should you find it difficult to start. Also remember that if the practice does not feel right STOP and stop without judging you.
Tip #2 Do not practice overzealously
When we find something that works and feels so amazing we can sometimes go overboard. When exploring a breath practice or pranayama we want to make sure we’re not practising overzealously there are certain breath practises that can bring on anxiety can create dis-ease in the body. For example Kapalbhati should not be practiced if you are suffering from heart disease, high blood pressure, epilepsy, spondylitis, glaucoma, slip disc or a hernia. It is a more advanced breath practice that is explored with an experienced practitioner.
Tip #3 Tune inward and choose a practice right for you
Before jumping into your breath practice I invite you to pause and notice what does your body need in this moment.
Is it looking for more energy or is it looking for calm?
Take the moment to allow yourself to notice what breath practice would best support your body in this time. This would mean ensuring that you explore practises that may be right for you at different times. For example if you are looking to calm the body and mind you may not want to explore the Breath of Joy but if you need to calm explore breath practices like the Nirvana breath or three part dirgha breath.
It is important to find the practice that serve your needs.
Tip #4 Remember it is a practice; not perfection
When we explore a pranayama a breath practice it’s important to remember there is no such thing as perfection. This is a practice like everything in life. Allow yourself to explore the practice and remind yourself that each day the practice will vary and may be different. For example if you have a cold your breath practice may not feel as good and it may not be the date or time to do it. Allow yourself to move through the practice and stop the practice whenever you need to.
Tip #5 Breath Retention
Certain breath practises invite you to retain your breath. Breath retention may not be comfortable and increase your anxiety.
Remembering not to force breath retention but rather modify the breath so that it works for you. If breath retention causes you increased anxiousness then it’s not meant for you to use. There is no right or wrong it is really about how it feels in your body. Listen to what comes up for you and adjust accordingly.
There are so many benefits to finding a breath practice that works for you.
4-7-8 Breath Practice
I invite you to explore the 4-7-8 breath. I have prepared instructions for you to access and explore this practice in your own quiet space. Access this FREE Guide here.
This is a breath that creates relaxation in the body. This breathing pattern was developed by Dr. Andrew Weil. It helps practitioners gain control over their breathing.
When practiced regularly, it’s possible that this technique could help some people fall asleep in a shorter period of time. This technique also techniques like 4-7-8 can give your organs and tissues a much-needed oxygen boost.techniques like 4-7-8 can give your organs and tissues a much-needed oxygen boost.
This is a practice that requires breath retention so if this creates discomfort or you are new to breath practises I invite you to follow this link to access a video for the Three Part Dirgha Breath which is also a relaxation breath and does not require breath retention.
I encourage you to give one or both a try. Let me know how it goes I would love to hear from you!