Quick Fix Energizing Yoga Breaths
By: “AJ” Amy Jo Crowell, Publisher Dallas Yoga Magazine & Founder Cosmic Yogi Festival
During these unpredictable times in modern society, these unpredictable times frequently finds us needing to calm ourselves, feeling lethargic, and agitated. This is where the yoga practice of pranayama can be beneficial. This ancient practice uses easy methods to focus your body, mind while relaxing and energizing.
Energizing pranayama techniques are often the most sought after because of our busy schedules and high stress levels. Pranayama practices cause more oxygen than usual to be taken into your body in a very specific method which causes your body to calm down and/or produce energy.
For centuries we have known that breathing does more than supply oxygen to our bodies. When the breath is controlled on inhales and exhales the breath purifies and cleanses the individual. It can calm the stressed anxiety ridden body or energize the tired, overworked.
Tips on Breathing:
- Pay attention to your natural breath and breathe through your nose. When you breathe through your mouth your body will not filter and purify the air. Pollutants and allergens need to be filtered through your nose or they end up in your lungs and this is not healthy.
- On your inhale, make sure your stomach and chest are expanding naturally, and on the exhale make sure they are contracting.
- Breathe deep into your abdomen…go past the chest and bring it down into your abdomen. If you practice this enough, your body will begin automatically doing this.
- Pay attention to the new energy you are creating in your body with your breaths and let go of anything you are holding on to…release the unnecessary.
Energizing Pranayama Techniques
- Kapalaphat: Skull Shining
Benefits: This will instantly revitalize you and will heighten your mental awareness and clarity.
Technique: Seated, move your upper body and neck in a circular direction for a few minutes to release any tension and relax the muscles. Then sit with your spine straight and close your eyes. Focus on your breath with each inhale and exhale with it entering and exiting through the nose. When ready, take a deep breath into your lungs and watch your chest and stomach expand. When your lungs are completely full then force the air out through your nose with a very fast powerful breath. Quickly, powerfully inhale again through your nose and as soon as your breath has completely filled your lungs, push it out again. This is a fast technique with each breath taking about one second. Do not hold breath in your lungs at any point. Instead, rapidly inhale and exhale. Try three cycles of ten breaths to start. At the end of each ten breath cycle, exhale very slowly. Then breath in and out naturally before starting your next cycle.
You may feel light headed when you practice this type of pranayama. This is common. You may have to cut back on the cycles and take more time between each cycle breathing naturally.
- Bastrika: Bellous Breathing
Benefits: Rapid energy boost and increased blood circulation. This will also give you a warm feeling and helps when you are feeling cold.
Technique: Sit with your spine straight. Close your eyes and watch your breath. After focusing, breathe through your nose with your mouth closed very quickly inhaling and exhaling ten times. These breaths are short and fast and do not go deep with your body. The focus of this technique is on the exhalation. Allow your inhale to be rapidly pushed out. After you tenth rapid breath, then breathe deeply through your nose and allow it to go deep into your lungs and abdomen. Then bend your neck and rest your chin on your chest and hold your breath for as long as you feel comfortable then raise your head and release the breath slowly. Repeat this cycle again beginning with the rapid breaths. If you are new to breath work, then practice this with one to three cycles. Over time and with practice you will be able to do more.
You may feel lightheaded when practicing this technique, but you will immediately begin to feel energized and invigorated. If you feel excessively light headed, then breathe long and deep until you feel comfortable.
These pranayama breath work techniques compliment not only your yoga practice but also your daily life. They offer the pure essence of pranayama reminding yourself whenever you focus on your breath you are practicing mindfulness and remaining in the moment.
Remember…it’s all about the breath.