Pranayama is the 4th Limb of Yoga, meaning extend and stretch life force through breath. The “Drawing Breath” workshop introduced 5 breathing techniques, or pranayama, that can be used to calm and focus our mind, even when we cannot change the situation around us. In “Drawing Breath” we used colored pencils to visualize breath on paper. By drawing short or long lines, circular or angular, using shades of color or not, we can match lines to our breath, or breath to our lines. Participants received a take home journal they can use to continue exploring the practice at home, and/or use during future BSH Wellness Events.
PRANAYAMA TECHNIQUES REVIEWED
- BELLY BREATH – By placing your hand on your belly while breathing, you can begin to find your bodies natural breathing rhythm. Inhale while expanding the belly, exhale and let the belly naturally fall. On the inhale, feel the breath fill the belly first, then move up into the diaphragm, and finally…the lungs! No more panting by breathing from the lungs only. Our bodies are designed for natural wellness and a still state of mind. Breath can take you there.
- BOX BREATH – inhale for a count of 3, hold for a count of 3, exhale for a count of 3, and hold for a count of 3, then 4, then 5, then….
- UJJAYI (aka dog snore breath) – Loud exhale by learning to scratch the back of your throat with your exhale….you’ll know you are doing it right when you sound like your pup snoozing 😀
- ALTERNATE NOSTRIL – Place your thumb on one nostril 1 and inhale through nostril 2, take thumb off nostril 1, close nostril 2 with pointer finger and exhale nostril 1. Hold finger placement, then inhale nostril 1, close nostril 1 with thumb and exhale nostril 2. Hold finger placement, then inhale nostril 2…might take a li practice but you’ll get your rhythm. Keep at it!
- SITALI (COOLING BREATH) – Stick out your tongue and curl the sides in, drawing breath here brings sitali in naturally. Can’t curl your tongue? Keep your mouth closed an inhale while focusing on the cool air as it enters through the tip of your nose. Even on a hot day, you can feel the slight variance with attention. Tongue curling is typically an inherited trait, 1 in 4 find it challenging, so meet yourself where you are. And Greet Yourself, xoxo.
A version of this post was previously published on greetyourself.net and is republished here with permission from the author.
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Photo credit: Sunny Lane