about prnayamaBy Faye Martins 

Every breath you take is critical to your survival. How ironic that most people never give a single conscious thought to their breathing. However, mindful breathing is one of the simplest adjustments you can make to your daily life that will have a positive effect on your physical and mental health. 

If someone told you they had a magic formula that would make you sleep better, have more energy and less stress, you might think they were offering you a combination of pills and the latest energy drink. Would it surprise you to learn that the magic is part of your yoga practice? 

Your yoga instructor reminds you throughout each class to focus on your breathing and may begin the class with a series of Pranayama breathing techniques such as Ujjayi or Bhastrika. Have you ever thought about using these breathing methods throughout your daily routine? 

A good way to do a check-in on your breathing is to put one hand on your abdomen and the other on your chest. Quietly become aware of the inhalation and exhalation of your breath. As you begin to focus and feel your breathing, you may notice a calmer state of mind beginning to unfold. 

Once you tune-in to your breathing outside of yoga class, you can apply it all the daily events that throw you off-balance. Controlled and focused breathing can aid you in directly addressing a variety of situations including: 

• Stress Relief

• Halting Emotional Reactions

• Creating Morning Energy

• Increasing Focus

• Calming Fears

• Releasing Frustrations 

For example, you are stuck in traffic at the end of a long day. You may be late to pick up your children in after-care. You just want to tap on the horn, but you know it will not change anything. You begin to feel anxious and emotional at the lack of control you have over the situation. Your heart may begin to race. 

The truth is you do have control. You can control how you react to the situation. This is an ideal opportunity to use your breathing to remedy the negative emotions. Calm yourself down by taking a deep breath in through your nose and hold it for a few seconds. Spend about 8 seconds exhaling the breath. Repeat this several times and you should feel your heart and blood pressure begin to regulate, creating a sense of calm. 

It seems impossible that such a simple action can be so effective for your overall health. Close your eyes and breathe until you believe. It’s that simple.

© Copyright 2014 – Aura Wellness Center – Publications Division

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