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Breathing Techniques (Pranayama)

Breathing Techniques (Pranayama)

Remember the emphasis on the heart. The mind lives in doubt and the heart lives in trust. When you trust, suddenly you become centered.

- Osho

Breathing Techniques (Pranayama)

Breathing Techniques are best learned with a teacher. That being said, you can follow these directions and practice on your own. Just set time aside to assimilate the effects of the breathing practice into your being.

Warrior Breath

The warrior or ocean sounding breath is focusing, grounding and aids in concentration. It is called the ocean sounding breath because you make an ocean sound by contracting the glottis with the inhalation and exhalation. This breathing technique is done through the nose with the contraction engaged on the inhalation and exhalation. To make the ocean sound, draw air in towards the back of the throat. As you exhale, press air towards the roof of the mouth. Draw the inhalation out to meet the exhalation in intensity and duration. Repeat, feeling the ebb and flow of the tide.

Three-Part Breath

The three-part breath or complete breath is nourishing, calming and relaxing. It is called the three-part breath because you are actively breathing into three parts of your abdomen. The first position is the low belly (on top of or just below the belly button), the second position, is the low chest, (lower half of the rib cage), and the third position is the low throat (just above the top of the sternum). The breath is continuous, inhaled and exhaled through the nose. The inhalation starts in the first position, the low belly; then moves to the second position, the low chest; then to the third position, the low throat. The exhalation starts in the low throat, moves to the low chest, and finishes in the low belly. Rest your hands on the individual positions to feel the breath rising and falling through each position. When you start practicing, you may want to individually isolate the movement in each position, using the hands. When you have a good feel for the breath moving in and out of each position, practice without the hands. Eventually relax the effort of the three-part breath and breathe in the three positions gently, feeling a wave of breath move up and down the torso.

Alternate Nostril Breath

Alternate nostril breathing is balancing, calming, anti-anxiety, and very relaxing. Place the right hand with the forefinger and middle finger bent towards the palm; thumb, ring and pinkie in the air). To do one round: close off right nostril with the thumb inhale into the left nostril; close left nostril with ring finger, open the right nostril and exhale through the right, then inhale into the right nostril; close the right nostril, open the left, and exhale through the left nostril. Continue, doing 5-20 rounds. Lunar breathing circles in through the left and out through the right to cool/calm the body. Solar breathing is the opposite to energize.

©Jo Kirsch, 2011

Click here to download a PDF of Breathing Techniques (Pranayama)

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