Monday, July 29, 2013

In Rhythms Yoga : Monday Morning Yoga Pose

Would you like to learn a traditional technique to minimize your stress level and bring good health and happiness to your life on a daily basis, using two tools that cost absolutely nothing, breath and focus?

Nadi Shodhana Pranayama or Alternate Nostril Breathing will help to release tension and allow for focused energy on the breath. The Sanskrit term, nadi in English means channel and shodhana means to cleanse or purify. Prana means energy and ayama means elongation. Nadi Shodhana Pranayama means to cleanse and purify the energy channels of the body through elongating the breath.

To engage in alternate nostril breathing:

1. Come to a comfortable seat, like sukhasana, easy pose, crossing the legs and bringing your palms on your thighs. Option to connect the left index finger and thumb as an “energy-seal” in the body. Sitting on a block or blanket may help to raise the hips, allowing for more comfort and support.. Sitting against a wall can also be helpful. A pillow or bolster on the thighs can help to elevate the arm which may become tired over time. 
2. Sit tall and feel your sitting bones grounded towards the earth. Bring your right thumb and place it on your right nostril closing off the right nostril with gentle pressure. Bring your right ring finger and pinky finger towards your left nostril, but do not place pressure yet on the left nostril yet. 
3. Exhale your breath out of the left nostril. Keeping pressure on the right nostril, inhale through the left, placing your ring finger and pinky finger on left side, and put light pressure on the left side while exhaling on the right. Inhale on the right side and place the thumb on the right and exhale on the left. This is one round of breath.

4. One helpful tip to counting your breaths, is to follow each exhale with an inhale on the same side and then moving to the opposite side.

5. Repeat the breath for 3-5 rounds. Take a moment after the breath work to come back to regular breathing where the breath is not controlled. Check in with how you feel, noticing any subtle shifts that happen in the body and mind. 

In our busy lives, we tend to over-schedule, living a fast paced daily existence. Learn to slow down and let go. We may hold unwanted tension in the head, neck and shoulders from our daily grind, slumped over our computer screen, or sitting in the car or at a desk, with our spine compressed and poor posture. Poor posture, and built-up tension can lead to headaches, migraines, and the physical manifestation of unhappiness.

Here is an opportunity to take time to focus on breath while sitting tall, taking in more oxygen and utilizing more lung capacity. Meanwhile melting away tension and stress, bringing clarity to the mind and coming back to a feeling of happiness. Practicing breathing techniques daily, helps to rebalance the brain, lower the heart rate, and cleanse the body. 

Alternate nostril breathing takes complete focus and may seem challenging at first. Make a commitment to practice and overtime and you will see and feel positive results over time.

When my teacher first taught me this breath, he created a daily personal practice in which I was to engage in early morning upon waking before any technology, eating or drinking, as a way to build and maintain balance, peace and happiness into my day-to-day practice. Breathing techniques can be practiced throughout the day before, during, after, or even without engaging in postures. I learned to enjoy using the breath work during meditation practice.

Staying present and concentrating on the breath is pertinent or you may lose count, and your placement in breathing. This helps to keep the mind present instead of wandering off thinking about to do list, daily life events and worries.

Check with your doctor before performing any form of exercise. Always honor your body.

Thank you yourself for taking the time to take care of the body, mind, and spirit while releasing tension and bringing clarity and cleansing to the mind.

Christi Iacono
In Rhythms Yoga- Contact for more info. Go to for class schedule and privates.

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