The best things in life are free—the rain, sunshine, true love and oxygen. Fact is, breathing happens so subconsciously to us that we fail to realise that it is in fact what connects our mind to the body. We all know that we are alive because we breathe, but if you pay attention, you’ll find that your breath has the ability to both calm you down or increase your energy levels, as needed. Similarly, the right breathing exercise can either calm your body and or warm it up during the cold weather. We got yoga guru and founder of The Yoga Studio, New Delhi, Seema Sondhi, to talk us through three breathing exercises, also known to us as pranayamas, that calm both the body and the mind alike. Repeat each type at least 10-15 times for best results.
Nose to mouth breathing
Sit in a comfortable position. You can either sit cross legged on your yoga mat or on a chair without crossing your legs. You may choose either position, but the important thing is to keep your spine straight. Close your eyes and start taking a few deep breaths to centre your mind. Then inhale slowly through your nose, hold your breath in for a second or two and then open your mouth to exhale. The temperature or just a situation can build up tension or aggression in people. “This breath helps calm them down considerably,” says Sondhi.
“Once your mind is relaxed you’re ready to cool your body.” Sit with a straight spine, then open your mouth, clench your teeth and inhale with a hissing sound through the space between your teeth. “This breath is like a natural air conditioner for the body, which is why this must never be practiced during winter.”
“This is also called the victorious breath, as it really helps calm the mind and nervous system while detoxifying the body.” To practise this breathing exercise, sit with your spine completely straight. Then close your mouth and inhale while slightly constricting muscles in the base of your throat. “You can imagine that you’re breathing via a straw between the centre of your chest and your throat.” When you inhale and exhale, it should be mimicking the sound of the ocean. Some people even compare the sound to Darth Vader’s breathing, to make it simpler to explain.
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