Breath of Joy

Breath of Joy – Prana Sukha (energy of happiness)

If you find yourself feeling down, struggling with low energy use this breathing exercise to pick yourself up and reconnect with yourself. You may also find yourself low on motivation to go to the gym, team sport, or when rolling out your yoga mat. Breath of joy uses three part rapid breathing and fast movements to find stillness and reconnect with feelings of the body. Breath of joy awakened your whole system by increasing oxygen levels trip was circulatory system and temporarily stimulating then parasympathetic nervous system leaving you calm and focused. This breathing technique can also be used to circulate more prana(energy) and gently stokes agni (digestive fire). The forceful exhalation can slightly detoxify the body and release stagnant tension. As it creates a state of homeostatic balance, breath of joy has been found effective in managing mood, releasing anxiety and inviting a feeling of being refreshed and relaxed. 

 

Benefits

-Use of the arms with inhalation encourages deep and full breathing while infusing the body with oxygen

     – First inhalation (arms forward) encourages diaphragmatic breathing

     – Second inhalation (arms to the side) encourages thoracic breathing

     – Third inhalation (arms up) encourages clavicular breathing

-The deep and complete exhalation at the end helps to detoxify the body via the respiratory system

-Strengthen arms and shoulders

-Energizes the whole body

-Will make you smile

Try a practice with the Breath of Joy to Energize, Uplift and Cleanse

To practice breath of joy start standing in Tadasana (mountain pose) with feet parallel and hip width apart; knees slightly bent.

Start by taking three short, rapid inhales and exhales making audible sounds as oxygen fills your lungs

 

Rapidly inhaling 1/3 of your lung capacity, swing your arms in front you parallel to one another about shoulder width apart with your palms facing up

 

Follow with your second rapid inhale bringing your arms out to the side; shoulder height; Palms facing Down

 

The third rapid inhale brings you to your full lung capacity while inhaling float your arms above your head with your palms facing each other

 

Then open your mouth and exhale completely swinging your arms forward and down past your knees making an audible sound ha or a large sigh as you exhale.

Repeat approximately 10 times, once you start the breathing exercise each breath should flow  easily to the next without strain. Simply close your eyes and be taken up by this peaceful and stimulating rhythm.

 

On the last round, rest in forward fold knees slightly bent; Palms relaxing towards the earth. Inhaling into the lower back as you exhale feel your body relax. When ready to contract your that I’d abdominal muscles take a deep breath and slowly stack each vertebra on top of each other coming to a straight spine. Returning to mountain pose allowing yourself to observe the new energy flowing in your body. Notice your heartbeat, notice any new sensations in your arms or in your legs. Breathing through your nose feel the breath flowing to all the corners of your body bringing nursing oxygen to every cell.

 

Precautions:

This practice may not be appropriate for all. If you have a history of High blood pressure migraines glaucoma lower back problems try out a different breath exercise like Nadi Shodhana (alternative nostril breathing) 



Nadi Shodhana

Nadi Shodhana: How to Practice Alternative Nostril Breathing

      Pranayama is the science of yogic breathing, it is the control and extension of breath which awakens prana. Prana refers to the energy that comes from all life making the word mean “the breath expansion of life force”. Yamas means “reining in or control, self restraints”. Using breath as a tool helps you reconnect to your body reducing chatter of the mind allowing clarity and relaxation. 

Pranayama requires to master these four aspects of the breath:

 + Exhalation

 + Breath retention after exhalation

 + Inhalation

 + Breath Retention after inhalation 

      Nadi Shodhana, also known as alternate nostril breathing technique, is a powerful pranayama (breathing) practice with many benefits including easing a busy mind or having trouble falling asleep. Nadi a Sanskrit word meaning “channel”  or “flow”  and the word Shodhana means “purification”. Breathing through each side of nasal cavity to help centre and balance circulation flow.  

Benefits of Alternative Nostril Breathing: 

      There are many forms of Nadi Shodhana but this form is my favourite. Most deep breathing exercises are best done on an empty stomach but can also be done when it is needed.  Start with a few deep inhales followed by a calm and slow exhale. A minimum of 5 breaths like this is used to awaken your inner energy. Once this breathing pattern feels relaxed and natural then start the Nadi Shodhana (alternate nostril breathing). With one minute of intentional breathing release stress and tension. With five minutes switch your body into rest and digest mode. On a physical level, focused breathing stimulates the parasympathetic nervous system, creating a sense of calm decreasing heart rate, blood pressure, and muscle tension.

In addition to stimulating the parasympathetic nervous system with regular practice of Nadi Shodhana also:

 

 Reduces stress and anxiety

 Helps balance hormones

 Balances masculine and feminine energies 

 Helps alleviate respiratory allergies

 Fosters mental clarity and an alert mind

 Enhances the ability to concentrate and focus

 Removes toxins

 Supports lungs and respiratory functions

      Next time you find yourself doing too many things all at once, or you sense panic or anxiety begin to rise, move through a few rounds of alternative nostril breathing. It’s a great way to hit the reset button for your mental state. 

Nadi Shodhana Practice: 

  1. Find a comfortable seated position
  2. Place your left on your left knee with your palm open to the sky (or in a preferred mudras)
  3. Right Hand: folding your index and middle fingers down towards the centre of your palm at the base of your thumb. Aligning the pinky finger and the ring finger together. Your thumb is used to close off the right nostril and your ring and pinky fingers are used to close off the left nostril. 
  4. Starting with your thumb closing off the your right nostril exhaling slowly out your left nostril. 
  5. Keeping the thumb on your right nostril now inhale through the left nostril
  6. Switching nostrils press your pinky and ring fingers on the left side and exhale gently then inhale on the same side completing cycle one of Nadi Shodhana. 
  7. Switch to blocking the right nostril and continue for 5-10 cycles allowing your mind to follow your inhales and exhales.

Steps 4 to 6 represent one complete cycle of alternative breathing. If you are moving through the sequence slowly, one full cycle should take 30-40 seconds. 

Tips: Consistency of length of inhales, exhales and pauses can achieve better results. For example as you inhale count to five, hold for 5 seconds, exhale for 5 seconds, and hold for 5 seconds. You can slowly increase your count as you continue to practice.