‘Recharging the Soul’ is necessary and can look (and feel) many different ways. Sometimes a change of scenery is the answer: a trip out of town, a different rhythm of life to move through, a ‘breath of fresh air.’ But for many of us, we may not have the time, funds or energy to take a trip, take a break from our daily responsibilities, or even go take an afternoon hike exactly when it may be needed.
Yoga is a science and an art form of transformation. And consider here that ‘transformation’ doesn’t have to be something that is very involved and huge in order to be extremely effective and powerful. Yoga is a beautiful and multi-layered practice that can shift our current state any time of any day. We don’t even have to gather our gear and get ourselves into a yoga studio to make this happen. It is accessible (and quick) to find those necessary ‘recharges’ throughout our day — whenever needed — just simply focusing our attention to the Breath.
Breathing is the most vital part of human life. And yet, when things get busy or stressful, our breath is one of the first things to suffer. Poor breathing patterns negatively impact the body on many different levels. Yogic breathing techniques are simple and can be integrated throughout a day, seamlessly. The benefits of consciousness and proper breathing include: elicits the relaxation response in the body; creates a balanced source of energy moving through us; increases our lung capacity; boosts the immune system; feeds our organs with vitality; stabilizes the mind; maintains emotional equilibrium; facilitates the reduction of depression… just to name a few.
So, the next time you feel tired, sad, overwhelmed, unfocused, burnt out, or just feel you need a little ‘pick-me-up,’ try this yogic breathing technique (this one can also be helpful for insomnia):
Nadi Shodhana Pranayama (means ‘alternate nostril breathing’ or ‘channel cleansing breath’)
- Lowers heart rate, reduces stress and anxiety & soothes the system
- Said to synchronize the two hemispheres of the brain
- Said to purify the subtle energy channels (nadis) of the body so the prana (life force) flows more easily
- You can practice this breath work up to 15 minutes at a time.
- You are breathing normally through each nostril (NO constriction/sound at back of throat).
How-to Step by Step:
Sit in a comfortable seat, with a tall spine, soft shoulders and a long back of neck (chin slightly down).
Gently close your right nostril with your thumb. Inhale through your left nostril, fully, then close it with your
ring and/or little fingers.
Open and exhale slowly through the right nostril.
Keep the right nostril open and inhale through it***.
Then close it, and open and exhale slowly through the left.
This is one cycle.
Repeat 3 to 5 times (or more), then release the hand at the nose and go back to normal breathing
though both nostrils*.
Feel the impact on your body, mind and spirit.
*** Depending on your needs this breath can be practiced in a few different ways:
- To balance: begin with the LEFT nostril — do many rounds back and forth — and end with the RIGHT nostril
- To calm (also good for interrupted sleep): begin with the LEFT nostril — do many rounds back and forth — and end with the LEFT nostril
- To energize: begin with the RIGHT nostril — do many rounds back and forth — and end with the RIGHT nostril