Yoga is not new to us. Even though it started nearly 5000 years ago in India. The Eastern and Western world has adopted it effortlessly, to the extent that about 37 billion people regularly practice yoga and there are more than 14,700 yoga instructors just in USA.
Even though different asanas or yoga positions are commonly practiced with mediation and various breathing techniques, an inseparable and a valuable part of yogasana, are not practiced much, and are many times undervalued.
Breathing techniques can be incorporated as a part of one’s daily yoga regime or done by itself. There are different forms of meditation, here we talk about meditation through pranayama. Concentrating on ones breathing.
Let’s look at some myths & facts about Mediation through Pranayama
|Mediation and breathing exercises are supposed to be done in morning||No, it can be done any time. In the morning oxygen content is high compared to that in the evening. We all know how trees release oxygen during day time and carbon dioxide during nights. So, breathing exercise in mornings is more beneficial, but not restricted to mornings only. Take out a moment when you feel palpitations or anxiety and just concentrate on your breath and alter your short breath to slow and calm breathing|
|If one does Asana there is no need of mediation|
NO, meditation equally helps mental as well as physical health. Affecting melatonin and cortisol level in our body
|Mediation won’t |
help fat loss
|No, had this thought ever crossed your mind where do our fat goes when we exercise? It is infact exhaled through our breath.|
Ready to get amused?
Are you ready to know how our bodies are aligned with our breathing?
Let’s do it, right now!
Doesn’t matter where you are. Take a seat and just close your eyes. Concentrate on your breath. Observe which part of your chest is active. Now take a moment and keep your palm like a cup shaped facing down on your knees and observe!
You’d find your lower chest and abdomen would be active while breathing. Now, turn your palm facing up and observe which part of your chest is active. And this time it should be your upper lobe of lungs and your upper chest is active.
Imagine, just by turning your palm can change your breathing pattern. Our breathing is so much connected to our bodies, it can potentially affect ones physical and mental health deeply.
Let’s try this again
Sleep on your left side and observe which nostril is active, it’s your right nostril. Now change your side and the active nostril will change accordingly. Amazing, isn’t it?
Our bodies are amazingly connected to our breathing pattern, in a way one can never imagine.
Diaphragmatic breathing & its importance
Recently, a lot of people are getting familiar to diaphragmatic breathing and understand the importance of it. Medical science is stressing on diaphragmatic breathing because it’s been proved by many tests that it helps relieve stress and anxiety and has tremendous positive effects on our mental and physical health.
In one of the studies on a group of athletes it showed that diaphragmatic breathing decreases cortisol and increases melatonin and the oxidative stress, thus affecting sleep, appetite, healthy weight and even slows aging.
It’s a well-known fact that during moments of anxiety and apprehension our breathing rate increases and the rate at which one breathes directly affect the quality and longevity of life. That is why it’s very important to train the way one breaths. Practicing breathing techniques, Pranayama, should be considered an essential part of a daily regime just as exercising or practicing yoga postures.
There are many breathing techniques in yoga. Even if one follows few techniques on daily basis it will bring substantial balance in mental and physical health, you don’t have to follow difficult breathing techniques. People who have restricted mobility and can not exercise can do it as well and reap the benefits.
I like to share this interesting experience of mine. I have shared this experience almost every time I speak about meditation, breathing and its impact on our physical and mental health. This is one my favorite experience to share.
During my training for Yoga Teacher Certification course at, The Yoga Institute, Santacruz, Mumbai, where there are nearly 50 -60 students in the batch, each of us were given two sets of primary school level riddles to be solved.
We were told to do the first set. We all did good and had our score counted.
Then we all were told to do the simplest form of Pranayama, (breathing technique) while we sit in a comfortable position and just concentrate on breathing. These were no complicated instructions, just breath long and concentrate on our breathing, acknowledge the thoughts crowding your mind and let it go. Do not struggle. We all did it for 3 minutes.
We were then told to do the second set of riddles. To our surprise, each one of us had remarkable increase in score, including me!
This is the power of 3 minutes of meditation -pranayama!!!
Do it before and after exercise, during moment of anxiety and panicky, before interviews, before exams, before participating in sports and before any kind of performance.
Practice it regularly, and teach your children. It will help them perform better in their studies, exams, sports, stage performances, etc. Let them concentrate a few minutes on their breath before they start their homework, it will help them stabilize their mind and concentrate better. It is an extremely simple technique to help balance your life.
It a free, yet a priceless resource so uses it and take advantage of it.
In my next blog I will talk more about different, but simple breathing techniques that anyone can use in your daily routine.