Welcome to Namaste,
My name is Susan Cuda yoga teacher & owner of Namaste Studios in Saratoga Springs New York.
Today I want to teach you 3 very different methods of breathing also referred to as pranayama.
Breathing practices such as the 3 I have demonstrated in the video are healing 1st of all by allowing more oxygen in the body, which in turn increases your ability to recover from injuries, colds & flu, feelings of lethargy. A regular breathing practice employing Bastrika (bellows) & Nadi Shodhan (alternate nostril) truly shines when used with your awareness to relieve depression & anxiety. Kabalibhati (pronounced KAH-pah-lah-BAH-tee), is intended mainly for cleaning the cranial sinuses but has many other positive effects including helping with anemia.
The main purpose of a focused breathing practice is to ground your energy, coming back to your moment to moment experience. If you are anxious, this can be difficult, but exactly where your focus needs to be. You will pay close attention to where you are right now without changing your breathing pattern. The reason that is so grounding is that we are usually attempting to escape uncomfortable circumstances and feelings by thinking about something else, so, in staying with the discomfort, you recognize the effects this stress is having within you, and are able to employ a self-regulation technique, such as Nadi Shodan to slowly calm your mind & body, returning to a state of coherence.
Once you are grounded, calm, and comfortable, if appropriate, take your breath practice further with Bastrika.
There are many healthful benefits that you will receive as a result of a daily pranayama practice. Your practice can include all 3 or simply focus on just one at a time.
*It is best to practice pranayama on an empty stomach, while SEATED, eyes closed (fewer distractions).
*Find a comfortable place to sit either on an arm less hard chair that’s not padded or the floor, supported by a pillow or bolster the lifts your buttocks yet allows your knees to relax towards the floor.
*Each practice begins by finding a comfortable seat, grounding your sits bones allow them to settle in and then take several slow deep breaths through the nostrils bringing the breath all the way into the low belly feeling the expansion between the belly button and public bone, exhale slowly through the nostrils and feel the contraction as the belly button gently and minimally moves toward backbone.
We will start with Bhastrika or Bellows Breath
Sit comfortably. Brings palms together with forearms touching. Interlace fingers and place just under your chin. Inhale through the nostrils, lift your elbows to shoulder height, and at the same time lift the sternum. Exhale with an open mouth audibly, releasing breath as your head tips back. Lengthen your neck gently up as you close your elbows drawing belly button toward back bone right at the end of the breath. Release your belly and repeat. If you have neck issues, don’t tip your head back, your chin remains level with the floor throughout this practice. Begin with 10 full breaths and work towards 20.
Benefits of Bellows Breath:
*Done properly, bellows breath strengthens your neck, upper back & shoulder muscles, stretches your rib cage
*Develops your lung capacity. Brings oxygen rapidly into your blood stream, & purifies your lungs by cleaning out stale air from within the folds of your lungs.
*Practiced regularly: athletic performance is enhanced,
*Brings a luminous shine to the body
*Increases joy & energy.
*Stimulates large intestine meridian.
Nadi Shodhan – Alternate Nostril
Place your left hand on your knee with palm up to receive or palm down to ground your energy.
Lift the right hand, thumb, ring and little finger extended. Index and middle finger touching pad of thumb. This hand position is called Vishnu mudra. You will be working with the thumb and ring finger. To keep it simple always begin and end on the left. When you become more adept at maintaining focus employ these variations:
Inhale left, exhale right: Helps to make you calm and integrates unwanted negative emotions and stress. Excellent by itself before bed.
Inhale right, exhale left: Gives clarity, and positive mood. Helps us to focus on what is important. https://www.3ho.org/files/pdfs/alternate-nostril-breathing.pdf
With elbow held at shoulder height inhale slowly and evenly through both nostrils. Gently, press your thumb to close off the right nostril and exhale strongly through your left.
Next inhale through the left nostril slowly and evenly. Close left nostril with your ring finger and exhale through the right nostril, slowly and evenly inhale through the right nostril. This completes one round. Rest and notice how you feel.
Complete 5 rounds and work towards 10, slowly progress to 15 rounds or 5 minutes.
Benefits of Alternate Nostril Breathing (Nadi Shodhana Pranayama)
Benefits of Alternate Nostril Breathing (Nadi Shodhana Pranayama)
*Creates whole brain functioning by balancing the right and left hemispheres.
*Calms and centers the mind
*Brings the mind to the present moment and out of the past (releasing old fears, regret, and worry)
*Therapeutic for the circulatory and respiratory systems
*Stress relieving and relaxing for the body and mind
*Helps harmonize the left and right hemispheres of the brain, which correlate to the logical and emotional sides of our personality.
*Helps purify and balance the nadis, (subtle energy channels), thereby ensuring smooth flow of prana (life force) through the body.
*Maintains body temperature. https://www.artofliving.org/us-en/yoga/breathing-techniques/alternate-nostril-breathing-nadi-shodhan
KAPALABHATI Skull shinning Breath
If you experience high blood pressure, heart disease,ulcers, hernia, distended stomach, if you are menstruating or pregnant, please skip this breath. Otherwise anyone else can do it.
Have a tissue handy.
Kapalabhati is actually a kriya, which means it creates heat in the body, and is a perfect practice to prepare the body for yoga.
Begin in a seated position. Rest backs of your hands on your knee in Jnana (pronounced: Gee-on) mudra. Bring pointer finger and thumbs to touch at the tips to create an “O” shape. This hand gesture has been used for thousands of years and is believed to bring peace and spiritual advancement. http://sacred-earth.typepad.com/yoga/2008/07/mudras-for-pranayama.html
Take a deep breath in, exhale completely, inhale half your lungs capacity and begin by forcing air out of your nose as if you are dislodging a bug. This activates your core muscles drawing belly button toward backbone. The inhale will happen automatically. Begin with 25 continuous breaths after which, stop and notice how you feel. A mistake that practitioners make is to go to fast Keep the pace comfortable. Work up to 100. Rest for 90 seconds after each round to allow the prana to settle with in the body.
Benefits of Kabalabhti
*Oxygenates your blood while strengthening the muscles of your stomach and abdomen
*Tones the tummy
*Reduces belly fat
*Clears the cranial sinuses within the skull.
*Improves circulation, slows the ageing process and helps relax facial muscles and nerves.
*Rejuvenates tired cells, helps to reduce wrinkles and other signs of ageing.
*Great practice to awaken the ajna chakra (or third eye).
Pranayama is a gift of awareness joining mind to body.
I love teaching pranayama because the practice expands your lungs capacity and in turn expands your consciousness. Plus, it is easy to learn and it is free. Once learned, there is no need for special classes. It is your gateway to a healthy body and consciousness which is just what our global community needs right now. Thank you for watching the video and reading my blog.
Namaste Susan Cuda 6/5/17