How to Relax with Yogic Breathing
Yogic breathing can help you relax. Pain clinics across the country use breathing exercises for pain control. Childbirth preparation courses teach Yoga-related breathing techniques to both parents to aid the birthing process. Moreover, since the 1970s, stress gurus have taught yogic breathing to corporate America with great success.
Yogic breathing is like texting your nervous system with the message to relax. One easy way to experience the effect of simple breathing is to try the following exercise:
Sit comfortably in your chair.
Close your eyes and visualize a swan gliding peacefully across a crystal-clear lake.
Now, like the swan, let your breath flow along in a long, smooth, and peaceful movement, ideally through your nose.
If your nose is plugged up, try to breathe through your nose and mouth, or just through your mouth.
Extend your breath to its comfortable maximum for 20 rounds; then gradually let your breath return to normal.
Afterward, take a few moments to sit with your eyes closed and notice the difference in how you feel overall.
Can you imagine how relaxed and calm you’d feel after 10 to 15 minutes of conscious yogic breathing?
How to practice safe yogic breathing
As you look forward to the calming and restorative power of yogic breathing, take time to reflect on a few safety tips that can help you enjoy your experience.
If you have problems with your lungs (such as a cold or asthma), or if you have a heart disease, consult your physician first before embarking on breath control even under the supervision of a Yoga therapist (unless he or she happens to be a physician as well).
Don’t practice breathing exercises when the air is too cold or too hot.
Avoid practicing in polluted air, including the smoke from incense. Whenever possible, practice breath control outdoors or with an open window, where you maximize exposure to negative ions (atoms with a negative electronic charge). Negative ions in moderation are considered beneficial for health. On the other hand, positive ions, which are produced by your TV and computer, have been connected with fatigue, headaches, and respiratory problems.
Don’t strain your breathing — remain relaxed while doing the breathing exercises.
Don’t overdo the number of repetitions. Stay within our guidelines for each exercise.
Don’t wear any constricting pants or belts.
The benefits of yogic breathing
In addition to relaxing the body and calming the mind, yogic breathing offers an entire spectrum of other benefits that work like insurance, protecting your investment in a longer and healthier life. Here are six important advantages of controlled breathing:
It steps up your metabolism (which helps with weight control).
It uses muscles that automatically help improve your posture, preventing the stiff, slumped carriage characteristic of many older people.
It keeps the lung tissue elastic, which allows you to take in more oxygen to nourish the 50 trillion cells in your body.