One of the best ways to start your day in a healthy way is to take a moment to ground your thoughts by stretching and intentionally breathing. It’s amazing what you can accomplish in less than seven minutes to set your day on the right path.
When you stretch deeply, you should always be warm. So performing this series after a morning workout or after a hot shower is optimal. If you do it right out of bed, make sure you stretch more gently.
Surya Namaskar [Sun salutation]
Surya Namaskar, the Sun Salutation, is a series of 12 postures performed in a single, graceful flow. Each movement is coordinated with the breath. Inhale as you extend or stretch, and exhale as you fold or contract. The Sun Salutation builds strength and increases flexibility.
Most of us are unaware of the fact that the loss of energy/ prana we often feel in our body is mostly due to incorrect breathing. Generally, we may be utilising only a small portion of our lung capacity. This inadequate supply of oxygen results in improper waste disposal from our body. The body functions are slowed down and the cells/ tissues fail to regenerate themselves due to lack of sufficient energy.
Oxygen in the blood is vital for
- Assimilation of food we eat for full filling body’s various needs like rebuilding tissues, supplying energy.
- Stimulating the functioning of the endocrine glands.
- Providing energy for functioning of brain, nerves, heart and other vital organs.
- Distribution of vital energy throughout the body.
With pranayama practice you can increase your intake of oxygen upto five times. This means you can get rid of five times of carbon dioxide from your body. Below are links for breathing yoga exercises:
- Rhythmic breathing and deep breathing Harmonise your body with your breath
- Alom Vilom Ideal Pranayama for Healthy Heart
- Kapalabhati Ideal for respiratory system, boosts memory
- Agnisar Takes care of your abdomen/ digestive organs/intestines.
- Bhastrika Ideal for diseases of the nose, chest and cures Asthma
- Surya Bhedi Warms up the body in winters
- Chandra Bhedi Cools the body in summer
- Ujjayi Cures asthama, cough, cold and diseases of nose and ears
- Bhramri Pranayama Increases blood circulation, stimulates thyroid glands
- Shitali Pranayama Has a cooling effect, makes you beautiful
- Shitkari Pranayama Has a cooling effect, makes you beautiful
- Sit in any easy posture
- Bring both hands to face so that first finger stays just above eyebrow, middle finger in the corner of nose & eybrow and thumbs to close the ear as shown in picture
- Do not strain the nose or eyes
- Inhale through both nostrils, taking a slow deep breath in.
- Exhale through both nostrils using the throat to make a soft “mmmmmm” or “eeeeeee” sound, like the buzzing of a bee. Do 5-10 rounds.
- Making the buzzing bee noise louder as you progress, but do not strain.
- First exhale fully.
- During inhalation your glottis should remain partially closed. Glottis is the opening between the vocal chords.
- While inhaling, produce a sound as if you are sobbing, by partially closing the glottis.
- The face muscles should not be contracted during inhalation. Abdominal muscles should be well controlled. Inhale smoothly and uniformly.
- After deep inhalation, retain your breath as long as possible. While retaining breath do Jalandhara bandh (lock your chin, touch your chin with your chest).
- Initially, try to retain breath for 8 to 10 seconds. Gradually increase the time of retention of breath.
- After retaining breath, first open the Jalandhar bandh and then exhale slowly. The glottis should all along remain partially closed.
- This is one set. Initially do 2 or 3 sets, gradually increase to 10 sets.