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Breathing is one of the simplest things we do — as basic as a heartbeat. Yet it is one of the most important practices for health and well-being.

As current world events show, humans are vulnerable to a range of respiratory illnesses. We cannot prevent them all but we can improve our chances of resisting infection or, if infected, being able to fight off the disease.

We should be making time every single day for breathing exercises to increase the flexibility of our lungs, fortify and detoxify our bodies.

Kapalabhati (Shining skull breath)

This is one of the most powerful forms of breathing to heat, energise and detoxify so it is a great one to use daily. The Yoga Journal has a great step-by-step  guide to doing the breath, if you are not familiar. Basically, though, kapalabhati consists of short, explosive exhales alternating with longer, passive inhales.

paul pranayama 2

Take a deep breath…

Pranayama

Pranayama breathing isn’t just for the yoga studio. Any time you find yourself stressed or needing to rebalance, you can take a break and do yogic breathing to help strengthen your body back and increase your tranquility.

“The breath and mind go together,” says Swami Karunananda, a teacher at Yogaville in Buckingham, Virginia, who specializes in using pranayama to deal with fear, anger, and depression. “If the breath is calm, steady, and even, so are we. If the breath is shallow, agitated, and arrhythmic, the mind won’t be able to concentrate.”

Bitilasana & Marjyasana (Cat-Cow)

Cat and cow poses engage the full body in the inhale and exhale, as flex your spin moving through the breath cycle. This has the additional benefit of opening your spine and shoulders, invigorating the organs and stimulating the circulation.

If you need a refresher on cat-cow Yoga Digest has a great, detailed guide.

Breathe deep — take care of yourself — love each other. Namaste.