Breathing, a process that we often take for granted, has become so important today because of the ongoing pandemic. The constant need for cylinders and beds has shown us how integral our respiratory system is and thus it is our responsibility to take good care of it. All the news around us might make us feel anxious and stressed. But all we have to do now is breathe…not just breathe but breathe right.
Here are a few simple meditation practices which you can follow to relax yourself and listen to your breath. You can sit in a cross-legged position, padmasana(lotus pose) or even on your chair or sofa:
- Guided meditation
We are surrounded by technology and various resources today. We can access meditation techniques and follow experts at the comfort of our homes. Listen to every word. You might get zoned out at times and that is completely okay. Try bringing back your focus on your breath and become aware of your body and breathing. Choose a timing that works for you and slowly increase it, start off with 5 minutes and slowly increase it. This will relax you, bring in positive energy and make you feel more focused.
Yoga is timeless. Certain practices help us make most use of the organs in our body. ‘Kapalbhati’ helps with abdominal breathing. Sit straight with your spine erect. Push out air while exhaling and try pushing your abdomen to your spine. The inhaling happens automatically. Practice this 10 times in one round. Perform 3 such rounds to feel your ‘kapala’ (skull) ‘bathi’(brighten up/shine).
It might not be your birthday, but it is time to blow some candles. But here is the catch, there are more than 30 to 40 candles in front of you. Blowing them is going to require a lot of inhaling and exhaling. Take a deep breath through your nose and while exhaling, push all the air out through your mouth. Pull your stomach in and exhale all the air out. Practice this 5-10 times in one round.
The meaning of the word ‘bhastrika’ is ‘bellows’. The technique involves inhaling and exhaling quickly ten times like the bellows of the blacksmith. Constantly dilating and contracting. Close your palms and make a light fist. Place them near the shoulders. While breathing in, open your fist and raise your hands up like you are reaching out for something. While breathing out, bring your hands back down and make a light fist again. Each round consists of 10 breaths. Perform 3 such rounds. People with hypertension and cardiac problems can stop with one round.
Bhramari means bees and in this pranayam, you will essentially be humming like a bee. Place your hands on your face in such a way that the thumbs are on the ears, the index finger is placed lightly in the socket of the eye, the middle finger is on the nose, the ring fingers meet at the cupid’s bow and the little fingers are placed near the chin. While inhaling, take a deep breath. While exhaling, hum in a high pitched voice and rhythmically open and close your ears with your thumbs. Repeat this 5-10 times.
6.Nadishuddhi (Anulom Vilom)
‘Nadishuddhi’ essentially means the cleansing of the breathing system. For this practice, you must place your right hand on your face in such a way that the thumb is on the right nostril, the index finger and middle finger are on the eyebrow bridge and the ring finger is on the left nostril. For the first round, inhale and exhale only through the right nostril. For the second round, inhale and exhale through only the left nostril. This way, the intake of air from both nostrils are equated. For the third round, inhale through the left nostril and exhale through the right nostril. Then inhale through the right nostril and exhale through the left nostril. Each round consists of 10 breaths. Do not perform it in a hurry, take deep breaths. Ensure the posture is right. Don’t force yourself beyond your comfort level.
All the practices are proven to be beneficial to one and all. However, it is safe for those with hypertension and other cardiovascular issues to consult their physician before performing any of the pranayams. Don’t go beyond your comfort level. Start off with 5 breaths a round and slowly increase the number of breaths. With the lockdown imposed, we have more time to look after our mind and body. It is time to unwind and look deeper into ourselves.