Alright, folks, it is officially Day 2.
Yesterday’s cleansing tip was warm lemon water. Today we are going to talk about cleansing your mind with a breathing technique called alternate nostril breathing or Nadi Shodhana.
Yes, you breathe all day, every day to stay alive but do you know how powerful your breath is for your mind?
In yoga, the breath is referred to as prana (life force). To the untrained eye, yoga is about movement and the body, however, the main focus of a yoga practice is to connect with the breath. By connecting to our own breath we become more in tune with our minds and bodies.
When was the last time you consciously focused on your breath? We often take breathing for granted because we do it so naturally however many of us hold our breath more often than we realize. Think about when you are…anxious, sad, in a hurry, irritated, stressed, angry etc.
Here’s a fun mindful activity…for the remainder of this post pay attention to what your breathing is like. Do you only breathe into your chest or are you actually filling up your entire chest and belly? Is your breath shallow? Is your exhale more or less shallow than your inhale? Leave a comment at the end to let me know what you noticed.
We live in a world that keeps us in hyper-arousal. This state registers as stress to the body. Chronic stress is the leading cause of disease and physical pain. The simple act of focusing on your breath encourages deeper breathing which allows our autonomic nervous system to relax. Relaxing this system provides more blood flow to the digestive system to improve digestion, lowers blood pressure, regulates heart rate, controls body temperature, boosts metabolism, balances water and electrolytes, and even increases blood flow to sex organs (yes, that means improved arousal, pleasure, and orgasm!).
In addition to the physical benefits, conscious breathing decreases stress, enhances concentration, relieves emotional tension and improves mood. So the next time you find yourself anxious, upset, or just having a rough time, take a minute to just BREATHE.
To add to your cleansing practice, try Nadi Shodhana. This breathing technique is specifically used to bring balance and purification by clearing out blockages. In balancing the breath you are allowing your mind to reset which improves mood, alertness, focus and brings peace and clarity.
Here is how it works:
- Sit up straight in a comfortable position
- Eyes can be closed or open with a gentle gaze (whichever is most comfortable)
- Relax your jaw with mouth closed
- Create the below posturing with your hand (let’s use the right hand for practice)
- Your index and middle fingers will gently touch your forehead, just above your nose/between your eyebrows
- Your thumb is on one side of your nose, pinky and ring finger are on the other. You will use the fingers on the sides to alternate closing your nostrils
- Start by closing your right nostril (with thumb) and take deep inhale through your left nostril
- At the end of the inhale, close left nostril (with pinky and ring finger) and release right nostril (thumb) to exhale
- Without alternating, inhale through the right nostril, close right nostril (thumb) and release left (pink and ring fingers) to exhale
- Begin again
This is one round. Try counting to 5 on your inhale and exhale breaths to keep the breath full and complete for 5+ rounds. Remember, only alternate nostrils before the exhale. This is a great way to start your day or even as a mid-afternoon detox.
I personally love to incorporate essential oils while I do breathing techniques. Lavender, or my new favorite, Stress Away, are great to assist in balancing and relaxing your mind. Try adding a few drops to the palm of your hand before starting or simply adding a few drops into a diffuser.
How was this breathing technique for you? Did you notice a difference in your mood or the quality of your mind and thoughts? Join us in the Actualize Your Healing Facebook group for a video demonstration and to share your experience.
In Perfect Love,