Breathing and Sleep

Posted by on Dec 16, 2014 in Health | Comments Off on Breathing and Sleep

Breathing and Sleep

Usually when we think about breathing, it is not something we do consciously and focused. I am giving you two breathing techniques to help calm the mind, reduce stress and relax.

Nadi Shodhan Pranayama

The first technique is called Nadi Shodhan Pranayama, which is alternate nostril breathing. It is easy to do! You just need a few quiet minutes to start. It is a wonderful way to slow down at the end of the day.

1. Sit comfortably with your spine erect and shoulders relaxed.breathe
2. Place your left hand on your left knee with the palm open to the sky or in Chin Mudra (thumb and index finger touching).
3. Place the tip of your index finger and your middle finger of the right hand between the eyebrows, your ring finger on your left nostril and your thumb on right nostril. You use the ring finger to open or close the left nostril and thumb for right nostril.
4. Press your thumb on the right nostril and breathe out gently through the left nostril.
5. Now, breathe in from the left nostril and press the left nostril gently with the ring finger. Removing the right thumb from the right nostril, breathe out from the right.
6. Breathe in from the right nostril and exhale from the left. That is one round of Nadi Shodhan Pranayama. Continue inhaling and exhaling from alternate nostrils.
7. Complete nine more rounds by alternately breathing through both nostrils.

Every exhalation, remember to breathe in from the same nostril from which you exhaled. Keep your eyes closed throughout the process and continue taking long, smooth breaths without strain or force. There are many benefits to this type of breath. It helps relax the mind and ease the body. It works therapeutically for circulatory and respiratory problems. It releases stress. It helps harmonize the left and right sides of the brain assisting in concentration. It also helps to purify and balance the energy channels of the body. Blood is purified of toxins. It helps reduce anxiety, depression and other mental illness.

Five Minute Breathing Meditation

Another type is a simple five minute breathing meditation. You can easily do this technique whenever you need to quiet the mind and focus. It is a breathing technique with a calming mantra that you recite in your mind. The mantra Om Ah Hum is a common Buddhist mantra that has a long history but is explained as body, sound, mind that is symbolized by the three words of Om Ah Hum. You can do this type of breathing without a mantra, but makes it easier to focus on breath and not other thought distractions, by using the mantra, as you breathe.

1. Sit in a comfortable, quiet position without gadgets or 5minutesinterruptions.
2. Relax your shoulders, rest your hands where they are comfortable, drop your head slightly and close your eyes. You can rest your tongue on the roof of your mouth to keep it moist.
3. As you take a deep breath through your nose, say the word ‘Om’ in your mind.
4. Hold the breath for a moment and imagine the word ‘Ah’.
5. You can exhale through the mouth or nose as you think of the word ‘Hum’.

As you breathe in deeply, concentrating on the mantra as you hold the breath and exhale, it will help you get into a meditative state. Try this technique for five minutes. You will notice you body at ease and your mind settled.

It takes a lot of practice to do these breathing techniques but they are so beneficial for you! As we tend to get easily stressed during the holidays, it is important to take a few minutes for ourselves and focus on our breathing. It is an easy way to reduce stress when life gets hectic!

Love and light, Toby

Toby Hostetter, board certified body guru at Shine Salon in Wichita, aromatherapist, and lover of all things organic. Call 316-687-7070 to schedule and appointment with her.