The body determines the existence of life. But besides it, even the breath we take is also involved. Yoga Breathing Exercises are designed for that sole purpose.
We all are breathing continuously. We even don’t pay attention to breathing, but the process is occurring non-stop. Do you know if you start paying attention, that is, make some changes or can say improvement, you can increase your life? This increase is not of days or months but years.
Yes, you have read correctly, you can live for longer just by improving the process which you are doing every time without any efforts.
Let us see them in detail.
I) Try to take a long deep breath ANYTIME, ANYWHERE. You may have a question about how it can be beneficial. You can understand its importance by just a small example. You may know that tortoises live longer. They have an average life of 250 years, which is much more than that of humans. But do you know why there is so much gap? It is the breathing process only. Tortoises breathe very slowly compared to that of a man. So now, you may have got an answer to your query.
Other than this, the other reason to take a long deep breath is that those who do simple breathing have most of their lungs unused. By taking deep breaths, you can maximize the use of your lungs. Also, oxygen will be more absorbed, circulated, and reach every part of your body. This will also remove toxins from your body.
II) If you do some yoga or exercise and make postures without taking care of breath, then you must follow these tips.
(a) In any posture when you are bending forward, then exhale
(b) When you are opening your chest or lifting your chest, then inhale
(c) When doing some twisting, then first inhale while preparing for the posture and then exhale out as it will make twisting easy.
III) There are some other breathing exercises that are quite helpful.
Yoga Breathing Exercises
You must be aware of the different yoga breathing exercises (Pranayama), such as Bellow breath (Bhastrika pranayama), Shining forehead breath (Kapalbhati), External breath (Bahya pranayama), Bee breath (Brahmari), Alternate nostril breath (Anulom Vilom, also called as Nadi shodhan). Now let’s understand how to do these breathing exercises and some precautions while doing them.
1. Bhastrika Pranayama
In this type of breathing, sit on a chair or in easy pose (sukha asana) or in lotus pose (Padma asana) or in kneeling pose (vajra asana), keep your hands on the knees, palms facing the sky, close your eyes.
Then focus on your breathing. First, inhale as much as you can, this will expand your lungs, and you can feel your abdomen projecting outwards. After that, exhale through the nostrils such that your lungs get empty completely. Repeat this process again and again. Take more time in inhalation than exhalation. You can do this daily for 5 to 30 minutes. Do this with an empty stomach or after two hours of taking a meal.
2. Forehead illumination breath (Kapalbhati pranayama)
In this type of breathing exercise, first, inhale through nostrils. Then exhales through nostrils, but this exhalation should be done forcefully. While exhaling, try to pull your stomach muscles inside as it will help in better exhalation.
In this breathing, more focus is done while exhaling.
This type of breathing can be done while sitting on a chair, or in easy pose (sukha asana), kneeling pose (vajra asana). Also, do this only an empty stomach or after 4 hours of taking meals. Women should not do this during their menstruation.
You can repeat it for 200 times or more than that. The speed of doing this can vary from beginners to professionals. Beginners can take a rest in between. Those suffering from high blood pressure should do this slowly, while those suffering from low blood pressure can do it quickly. Those who do not have any blood pressure-related problem can do it at a normal speed which is 200 breaths in 10 minutes.
3. External breath (Bahya pranayama)
Sit in any pose, then take a deep breath through nostrils. Now do a forceful exhalation such that your lungs are completely empty. Now bring your chin in contact with your chest and then pull your abdomen inside. Hold it for a few seconds. Repeat this for 3 to 5 times.
4. Bee breathe and Chanting Breath (Bhramari followed by udgeeth pranayama)
Sit in easy pose, cover your eyes with your hands, and with your thumbs close your ears. Then take a deep breath through nostrils and then exhale through the nose. While exhaling produces a humming sound from your throat. Repeat this for 3 to 5 times.
To do chanting breath (udgeeth pranayama), keep your eyes shut and place hands on the knees such that palm is facing the sky. Take a deep breath and then chant OM and exhale slowly along with it. (2/3 part of O and 1/3 part of M).
5. Alternate nostril breath (Anulom Vilom or Nadi Shodhana)
It is one of the best breathing exercises (pranayamas). To do this, sit in an easy pose, close your eyes. Place the left hand on the knee, palm facing the sky. Close your right nostrils with the right thumb. Take a breath with your left nostril. Then close this left nostril with the index finger of the right hand and exhale through the right nostril. This is a single cycle. Do this for 10 to 30 minutes.
You can do these breathing exercises an empty stomach or after 2 hours of taking a meal.
So, these are the simple techniques and following them can greatly improve your life. As in today’s world, our lifestyle has a major effect on health. Also, the pollution these days affect us tremendously. However, just breathing can improve our health. So one should do breathing exercises on a daily basis or at least 5 days a week. In a day, one can do it in the morning or evening. But the morning time is the best.
If you are suffering from any diseases, it is advised to consult your physician before doing them. For example, one suffering from fever should not do yoga. Similarly, in any chronic disease, it might have a negative impact.
Usually, it is always best to do yoga and concentrate on breathing.
Just follow this, and you will find that you are no longer the same person. Because Yoga is not about self-improvement, it’s about self-acceptance.