When you own your breath, nobody can steal your peace. ~ Unknown
Pranyana is the fourth limb of Raja Yoga as mentioned in Patanjali Yoga Sutra. Prana is the vital force or the life energy. Yama means to control. So Pranayama means to control breath or vital force. Pranyama is a great way to control stress and anxiety. Pranayama teaches us to Breathe Easy to Relieve Stress.
Breath acts as a bridge between mind and body. By controlling breath, we can control our mind.
When the breath wanders the mind also is unsteady. But when the breath is calmed the mind too will be still, and the yogi achieves long life. Therefore, one should learn to control the breath. ~Svatmarama, Hatha Yoga Pradipika
Stress has become a giant killer.Almost all disease directly or indirectly linked up to stress. So better way to get rid of illness is to attack at the root.Below are must read posts on how to tackle stress.
There is a very effective hand mudra that can help to counter stress.
And here are few easy yoga asnas that can be done daily to keep stress at bay.
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Follow below steps to make Pranayama an Enriching experience.
Breathing techniques used in pranayama are simple, however it is advisable to follow some precautionary measure:
1) While doing pranayama, be aware of your breath.
2) Follow a breathing process that is gentle, slow and even. Jerky or irregular breathing pattern can be harmful.
3) Best time to practice pranayama is the early morning when air is fresh and level of pollution is less.
4) It is advisable to do pranayama empty stomach.
5) Always do pranayama in calm and cool surroundings.
6) It is advisable to close your eyes through out your practice session.
7) If you are a beginner, always seek help from an expert practitioner.
8) Do not exert yourself. Pranayama is a way to relax, it should not leave your feeling tired. Pranayama should help you to relax and energize.
9) Do not practice pranayama if you suffer from any chronic shortness of breath or any respiratory problem.
Pranayama is all about breathing in and breathing out. There are different type of pranayama that provides different level of benefits.
Meditation is also a great way to relax mind and get away from anxiety and stress. Read below interesting posts to get motivated to take up meditation.
Breathe Easy to Relieve Stress : Nadi Shodhana Pranayama
Inhale, and God approaches you. Hold the inhalation, and God remains with you. Exhale, and you approach God. Hold the exhalation, and surrender to God. ~Krishnamacharya
Anulom Vilom or Nadi Shodhana pranayama is the most commonly practiced pranayama for stress relief. Other name for this pranayama is alternate nostril breathing. Since in this pranayama, inhalation and exhalation is done from alternate nostrils. As per the book ‘healing With Love’ by Leonard Laskow, negative emotions resides in the right hemisphere of the brain, while positive emotions seems to reside in the left hemisphere of the brain. To balance out these emotions, alternate nostril breathing can be done. As per ancient books of yoga, It balances out Ida and Pingla. Pingla represents the heat or sun, while Ida represent the moon or cold. Alternate nostril breathing tends to balance out these hot and cold energies in the body.
Step by Step Procedure for doing Nadi Sudhi Pranayama.
1) Sit in Any meditative posture.
2) Adopt Nasika Mudra. Curl your index and middle finger of right hand inside your palm. You have to use only thumb, ring and little finger only. If you feel uncomfortable with this gesture, simply use your thumb and little finger. And curl inside other finger.
3) Block your right nostril with your thumb and start with left nostril.
4) Exhale from left nostril and then inhale from same nostril.
5) Block your left nostril with little and ring finger.
6) Then Exhale from right nostril and nhale from right nostril.
7) This will complete one round of Nadi shodhna pranayama.
9) Repeat 9 to 27 rounds as per capacity.
9) Exhalation should always be longer than inhale.
10) With few days practice, a pause can be incorporated in between. First exhale, then inhale, then hold the breath for few second, then exhale from other nostril.
How it helps to Reduce Stress?
In Yoga Sutra, Patanjali described pranayama as process that helps to break the unconscious breathing pattern and make breathing easy, longer and smooth. Over the time unconscious breathing leads to short, shallow & rapid breathing that can activate the sympathetic nervous system. It leads to fight or flight response. As a result mind and body feels stressed out. When pranayama practiced correctly, it will again activate the para sympathetic nervous system that is the relaxation state. This will reduce stress. As a result, you mind will be able to tackle any challenge or demanding situation with ease and without much turbulence.
These days stress in on alarming rise. Almost more than 80% people are stressed out. Something should be done to tackle it. Pranayama is a great way to deal with it. Daily practice for 10-15 minutes is an effective way to keep stress at bay. You should also read below posts on alternate healing. Alternate healing is a good way to speed up the recovery. It can be complimented with traditional medicine.
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