New Innovations in Yoga

Yoga is an activity that has been developed over the centuries. It started in India and then traveled to other countries as people began to practice it widely. Now yoga is practiced in almost every country around the world and is probably one of the most popular forms of meditation and exercise as well. 

Over the years, as yoga has become more popular in the west, there have been a lot of innovations in the practice of yoga. Yogis have come up with new yoga asanas or their own interpretation of classic asanas. 

These are some of the new yoga asanas, which are the most popularly used ones:


  • Reverse Warrior

It is a take on the Warrior 2 asana. It involves extending your right leg so that your knee makes a right angle against the floor with your left leg stretched out behind you. Your right hand is extended as far as it reaches above your head, palm facing down, and your left-hand rests on your stretched left leg. It is a great side stretch to open up the muscles between each rib. 


  • Goddess Pose

This pose was originally used by those who practice Tai Chi and is referred to as the Horse Stance within it; it was only recently adopted by yogis as a yoga pose. This pose involves bending your knees and planting your feet sideways on the floor and raising your arms with your elbows bent. When you perform this pose, your legs will make a rectangle with the floor, and your hands and arms will mimic this pose against the ceiling. It is a great pose to stretch out your muscles. 




  • Humble Flamingo Pose

Much like the name suggests, this pose is supposed to mimic how a flamingo stands when it is resting on one leg. Your body bents forward. Your right foot is to be on the floor in front of you, with your left foot bending towards the sky at your back. Both your arms should be behind you, with just your fingers touching the floor to support your pose. It is an incredibly intricate pose that requires a lot of upper body strength since your hands are essentially supporting your entire body. 




  • Camel-Frog Hybrid Backbend

It is another way the camel pose has been tweaked to be more extreme. You sit on the mat on your knees. Your right leg is bent upwards, so in a way, it is supporting your back while your left leg stays planted on the floor. You stretch your upper body backward as much as you can with your right arm on your right side and your right hand touching the floor to support you and your left arm outstretched behind your ear. This pose provides a very extreme stretch and should only be performed by those who already excel at the camel pose. 

Yoga has new poses being added to its list of asanas every day; whether it is a spin on traditional poses or a completely new one.

Mid-Day Meditation

Meditation, being a very calm practice, is normally considered to be done either early in the morning in the company of birds chirping or late at night to rock you to sleep. But why not find the peace that meditation gives you right in the smack of things during the day? It is amazing how little you need to reconnect with yourself, get some fresh air, and power up for the activities that still await you.

Normally, meditations make us focus inward, but let’s change things up and pay attention to our surroundings for this exercise. It is also important to be appreciative of the things that are happening around us: the noises, the scents, and the people.

For this meditation exercise, you can choose to either walk, stand, sit, or lay down. Take into account everything from things that make you happy and cheerful to the ones that irritate you. Take a moment to examine how you feel and disengage from your busy mind; shift out of doing into being.

  • Start by deeply breathing with your belly. On the inhale, fill your belly with air on the count of five and make it expand. While on the exhale, let all your breath out and make your belly contract in. Bring your awareness to your breath. Oftentimes, when we are in stressful situations, we forget to breathe and, in turn, feel very tense. Connect to the world around you. The point of this meditation should be to be awake and observant. 
  • Bring attention to your body. How do your feet feel as they touch the ground? Feel the connection of your body to the world around you. Notice each part of your body. No matter in which position you are, sitting still or moving. How does your body actually feel? Acknowledge that feeling. Do you feel the weather? Notice the sky. How is it like? Bring your attention to the muscles that hold you up at that moment. Notice if there’s any tension in them. Place your hand on your chest, and feel your heart. Bring your attention to your breath again and the surrounding you’re in. What do you see? Take in those things like you have never before seen them as if you were to bring someone new here to introduce him/her to this place. What do you hear? What do you smell? How does it all feel?
  • Notice how you feel when you become one with everything around you – relaxed, alert, and hopefully present in the moment. Know that you are a gift in itself and allow yourself to find excitement in all experiences.
  • Reassess yourself. Are you appreciative of things around you more? Do you take things for granted? What are the things that you shouldn’t take for granted?
  • Then, slowly bring attention back to your breath. Awaken your body by slowly rolling your head from one side to the other and embracing yourself in a hug. When you think of it, you’re either here or nowhere.
  • Hopefully, a short practice like that can make you thrive each day. Pair it with some healthy and nutritious meals and sweat-drenching workouts and report back how you are doing. I’d love to hear your responses, whether positive, neutral, or even what’s not working.

Mid-Day Meditation

Meditation, being a very calm practice, is normally considered to be done either early in the morning in the company of birds chirping or late at night to rock you to sleep. But why not find the peace that meditation gives you right in the smack of things during the day? It is amazing how little you need to reconnect with yourself, get some fresh air, and power up for the activities that still await you.

Normally, meditations make us focus inward, but let’s change things up and pay attention to our surroundings for this exercise. It is also important to be appreciative of the things that are happening around us: the noises, the scents, and the people.

For this meditation exercise, you can choose to either walk, stand, sit, or lay down. Take into account everything from things that make you happy and cheerful to the ones that irritate you. Take a moment to examine how you feel and disengage from your busy mind; shift out of doing into being.

  • Start by deeply breathing with your belly. On the inhale, fill your belly with air on the count of five and make it expand. While on the exhale, let all your breath out and make your belly contract in. Bring your awareness to your breath. Oftentimes, when we are in stressful situations, we forget to breathe and, in turn, feel very tense. Connect to the world around you. The point of this meditation should be to be awake and observant. 
  • Bring attention to your body. How do your feet feel as they touch the ground? Feel the connection of your body to the world around you. Notice each part of your body. No matter in which position you are, sitting still or moving. How does your body actually feel? Acknowledge that feeling. Do you feel the weather? Notice the sky. How is it like? Bring your attention to the muscles that hold you up at that moment. Notice if there’s any tension in them. Place your hand on your chest, and feel your heart. Bring your attention to your breath again and the surrounding you’re in. What do you see? Take in those things like you have never before seen them as if you were to bring someone new here to introduce him/her to this place. What do you hear? What do you smell? How does it all feel?
  • Notice how you feel when you become one with everything around you – relaxed, alert, and hopefully present in the moment. Know that you are a gift in itself and allow yourself to find excitement in all experiences.
  • Reassess yourself. Are you appreciative of things around you more? Do you take things for granted? What are the things that you shouldn’t take for granted?
  • Then, slowly bring attention back to your breath. Awaken your body by slowly rolling your head from one side to the other and embracing yourself in a hug. When you think of it, you’re either here or nowhere.
  • Hopefully, a short practice like that can make you thrive each day. Pair it with some healthy and nutritious meals and sweat-drenching workouts and report back how you are doing. I’d love to hear your responses, whether positive, neutral, or even what’s not working.

An Ovеrvіеw оf Yоgа Rеtrеаtѕ Arоund Yоu

Yоgа is nothing but a ѕеrіеѕ оf dіffеrеnt аѕаnа, postures, аnd роѕіtіоnѕ. It should hаvе a place thаt іѕ nаturаllу rich аnd hаѕ biodiversity. 

In yoga training сеntеrѕ аrоund уоur lосаl area, many rеtrеаtѕ are fаmоuѕ fоr dіffеrеnt ѕtуlеѕ. If considering a rеtrеаt’ ѕ bеnеfіtѕ, they аrе аlwауѕ a gооd way to start the уоgа practice. If аnуоnе dоеѕn’t have еxреrіеnсе іn yоgа, then yоgа rеtrеаt рlасеѕ аrе also thе bеѕt wау tо ѕtаrt frоm zero. A rеtrеаt’ ѕ оrgаnіzеrѕ dоn’t nееd аnу yoga еxреrіеnсе. Pеорlе whо рlаn fоr yoga trірѕ mау bе уоung/оld оr flеxіblе/ѕtіff. A yоgа rеtrеаt’ ѕ tеасhеrѕ wіll give уоu thе bеѕt chance to gеt аwау frоm your оffісе аnd wоrk tensions аnd gіvе tіmе tо ѕреnd tо tаkе саrе of уоurѕеlf. 

Fеw оf the famous retreats fоr yоgа рrасtісе are the following:

Holistic Retreat 

It іѕ a реrѕоnаl yoga rеtrеаt thаt оrgаnіzеѕ yoga trірѕ fоr a wееk. It is hеlрful fоr реrѕоnаl grоwth. All уоgа practices are conducted іn thе nаturаl environment. The tеасhеrѕ of thіѕ retreat аrе internationally rеnоwnеd. Thеу tаkе уоu thrоugh a реrѕоnаl jоurnеу of trаnѕfоrmаtіоn оf the bоdу аnd mіnd wіth the hеlр оf yoga. 

The trір’ѕ hіghlіghtѕ аrе as follows: 

  • Thеrе are up to 10 yoga classes 
  • Lunch vоuсhеrѕ are provided. 
  • You саn аlѕо gеt ѕеmі-рrіvаtе уоgа сlаѕѕеѕ. 
  • Aуurvеdіс trеаtmеnt vоuсhеrѕ. 
  • Lаvіѕh ѕра treatment vоuсhеrѕ 
  • Complimentary brеаkfаѕt соuроnѕ 
  • Aftеr the yоgа сlаѕѕеѕ, thе remaining time оf the dау іѕ frее for you to visit nearby рlасеѕ 
  • Aссоmmоdаtіоn іѕ, of course, available. 

Rеvіtаlіzіng Rеtrеаt

Thіѕ rеtrеаt is famous for ѕtrеѕѕ relief. Many centers рrоvіdе ѕtrеѕѕ-rеlеаѕе расkаgеѕ. Thеѕе packages оffеr уоgа, meditations, and ѕра trеаtmеnts. 

Alоng wіth thеѕе расkаgеѕ, уоu саn get соmрlіmеntаrу bеnеfіtѕ, іnсludіng ѕіghtѕееіng of nearby places. Sunrise yоgа аѕаnа аnd рrаnауаmа, ореn chakra mаѕѕаgеs, luxurіоuѕ baths, ѕunѕеt mеdіtаtіоns, and есо forest wаlks аrе аlѕо included іn thе расkаgе. Thіѕ уоgа trір rеlаxеѕ you and rеlіеvеѕ your stress. 

The trір’ s highlights are as follows: 

  • Dаіlу ѕunrіѕе аnd ѕunѕеt уоgа аѕаnа and meditations 
  • Multiple spa trеаtmеntѕ 
  • Multірlе Aуurvеdіс trеаtmеntѕ 
  • Eсо fоrеѕt walks 
  • Bаnjаr hоt springs 
  • Vihara Buddhist Tеmрlе 
  • Fresh and lосаl mеаls
  • Accommodation 

Rеvіvіng Rеtrеаtѕ: 

If you fееl a lасk оf еnеrgу, stress, раіn, or рооr sleep, then thіѕ іndісаtеѕ thаt уоu should gіvе some tіmе for уоurѕеlf аnd plan a yoga trір. Yoga trірѕ аlwауѕ fосuѕ on оnlу уоu. The program gіvеѕ a mоrе іntеnѕіvе rejuvenation trеаtmеnt аnd helps over a lоng реrіоd. 

Trір’s highlights are as follows:

  • Yoga ѕеѕѕіоnѕ 
  • Yоgа consultation on a рrіvаtе bаѕіѕ 
  • Aуurvеdіс fооt and facial mаѕѕаgеs
  • Aуurvеdіс trеаtmеnts
  • Traditional pеrfоrmаnсеѕ 
  • Vіllа accommodation 
  • Dаіlу frеѕh аnd Ayurvedic mеаlѕ 

Whу Should You Gо Tо A Yоgа Retreat? 

Thеrе аrе mаnу rеаѕоnѕ whу you should соnѕіdеr jоіnіng one оf thе mаnу yoga retreats. Here аrе juѕt ѕоmе оf thеm: 

  • A yoga rеtrеаt rеаllу helps уоu tо brеаk away from уоur uѕuаl rоutіnе. It helps tо рut уоur mind аt rest аnd to lіvе more for the mоmеnt. 
  • Yoga retreats аrе hеld in the most stunning places in the wоrld. Sо, not оnlу wіll уоur enjoy blіѕѕful yoga, but you also gеt tо еnjоу the stunning ѕсеnеrу. 
  • Jоіnіng a уоgа rеtrеаt makes іt еаѕу tо travel bу yourself. As mоѕt retreats аrе оrgаnіzеd fоr groups, уоu can easily trаvеl on уоur own. You will meet lоtѕ оf іntеrеѕtіng people іn уоur retreat. 
  • Many уоgа retreats аrе very affordable. Althоugh thеrе аrе уоgа hоlіdауѕ in all рrісе rаngеѕ, I have fоund it easy to fіnd vеrу аffоrdаblе уоgа rеtrеаtѕ thаt ѕtіll hаvе аll the соmfоrtѕ оf a luxurу hоlіdау. 
  • A yoga rеtrеаt gives you аn орроrtunіtу tо work оn уоur bоdу аnd flеxіbіlіtу. There is nоthіng tо fееl guіltу аbоut оn thіѕ holiday аѕ уоu will exercise and make your bоdу mоrе toned and flеxіblе, and uѕuаllу, you wіll eat vеrу hеаlthу vegetarian mеаlѕ.

Traveling Internationally as a Yoga Teacher

If you are like me, then you love to travel. In fact, over the last few years, I have traveled more than I haven’t. It was through my willingness and freely traveling ability that I was able to certify to become a yoga teacher. Some teachers teach in many different countries within only one year. If you are like me, you may want to know how this is possible.  

I completed my yoga teacher training in Mexico, and through this opportunity, I was able to make friends in Mexico, Australia, United States, Canada, Germany, Sweden, Turkey, and Thailand. These countries have invited me to teach as a yoga teacher or to stay with them in their homes. Some of them will be doing their own yoga teacher training. Through all of these connections, I have been able to open the door to international opportunities. Recently, I planned a trip to Guatemala. After I booked the flight, I realized that I could look into teaching yoga. After reaching out to a few different yoga shalas around the town I was going to be staying in, I secured some spots available to teach. I was so happy! It made me reflect to consider the following things when traveling internationally as a yoga teacher:

  • Are you traveling for a vacation or as a lifestyle? Many people want to relax and detach when they travel because they view it as a vacation. There is nothing wrong with this. Traveling can become a lifestyle for many people as it has for me. It means that when I am considering where to go, I may not secure yoga work, but I will consider if yoga work is a possibility. Choose if you would want to teach while you are in a particular place.
  • Are you interested in karma service? Some great opportunities through yoga trade websites include free room and board in exchange for teaching classes. It is a great way to travel to many countries internationally as a yoga teacher. It is also a great way to avoid having to apply for work visas or worrying about working in a country without being permitted to. 
  • What is your client market? Do you speak their language? If you are traveling somewhere with a lot of tourism, maybe you want to connect with local hostels or spas to see if you can teach. If you are traveling to an existing community of permanent or semi-permanent residence, you may want to consider advertising yourself for private services or your studio. 
  • Don’t forget your class items. Your favorite yoga pants and yoga shirts are a must. You may want to purchase a thin travel yoga mat and bring some small altar items. Bring a small singing bowl or chimes or any other small items that can help you to create your class at any time and anywhere in the world. 
  • Check out other teachers’ classes if possible. Traveling internationally as a yoga teacher is a great opportunity to explore different styles of yoga and also how language barriers can affect the method of the class. It is common to find classes taught in English all over the world, even when the students all speak different languages

Traveling internationally as a yoga teacher can be a beautiful way to make great connections with fellow teachers and students!

6 Tips to Keep Yourself Warm Through Winter Yoga Practice

Winter can make us feel extremely lazy, but practicing yoga throughout the winter season can be beneficial. Yoga isn’t rocket science. Anyone can definitely do it as long as they are careful in performing the poses. These are a few tips on how to keep yourself warm through winter yoga practice.


  • Tip #1: Warm Up With Lukewarm Water

When the temperature drops and we’re cold, our blood circulation decreases. It will not only slow down the effectiveness of our organs but also make our body temperatures lower. Therefore, the constriction of joints and muscles is very common. To warm yourself up before any yoga practice, drink a cup of lukewarm water. It is much more beneficial if you take it first thing in the morning. The cold weather is a perfect reason to practice yoga, because this way, you can increase your natural body heat.


  • Tip #2: Bring The Arms Over Your Head

Yoga poses like Triangle, Warrior Three, and Tree Pose can be used to bring your arms above your head. By raising your arms upward, you are increasing your heart rate and body heat. It is perfect during the winter season because it doesn’t require much to do so. These yoga poses are perfect to work muscles along your spine. 

  • Tip #3: Wear The Correct Clothing

Practicing yoga always means wearing “comfortable and convenient clothes.” But most yoga garments tend to expose the parts of your body that you are trying to keep covered in winter. Warm leggings and fleece-lined leggings are great for winter yoga. Do not opt for a racerback tank as your workout shirt. It will only decrease your natural body temperature and make you feel colder.


  • Tip #4: Practice Heating Inversions

Some heating inversion poses are the HeadStand, Pincha Mayurasana (Forearm Balance) and Hand Stand. If you want to keep yourself warm through your winter yoga practice, you can try these inversions. Make sure your shoulders are already warmed up before you practice these poses. 

  • Tip #5: Maintain Good Breathing

Good breathing techniques will allow you to develop a more stable body temperature. Ujjayi breathing is a technique that helps in developing discipline and concentration. Always inhale and exhale comfortably. It will strengthen the internal organs and diaphragm. It also tones the focus of your mind. 


  • Tip #6: Do Backbend

It is commonly known as a heat-producing element in yoga practice. By doing a backbend, you allow your body to produce more heat. However, we recommend refraining from drinking water. It is because the body will cool down if you decide to drink while performing backbend. If you really need to do it, drink before and after practice. But not while performing backbend.

  


In A Nutshell

The winter will tempt us into snuggling up on the couch. But it should never stop you from your yoga practice. The winter chill can expose you to lower temperature, which can lead to both sadness and low immunity. If you want better well-being as a whole, keep practicing your yoga even through the winter season.

Ayurvedic Medicine

Ayurveda is an ancient system of medicine that originated in India. It is a combined word that means life (Ayur) and science or knowledge (Veda) in Sanskrit. Although Ayurvedic medicine was disseminated orally, it is recorded in the Vedas that ods bestowed medical knowledge to intellectuals and then passed down to physicians. The philosophy stems from the idea that health is impacted by the life and all aspects of it. It is similar to the findings of Hippocrates and the four humors of life. The environment affects oneself which in result affects wellness. There is always an emphasis on finding a balance between our environment, the people around us, and the universe. However, it is said that imbalances occur due to the choices we make. The imbalance disrupts peace in an individual’s life, initiating diseases and illnesses. Ayurvedic philosophy teaches us that we are responsible for the decisions and actions we make in order to sustain a healthier life. 

Ayurvedic Practice 

Ayurvedic medicine consists of traditional practices that maintain wellness and longevity. Some practices include nutrition and diet, exercise, and mindful and herbal therapies. Scientists in the modern world have researched and studied the effectiveness of Ayurvedic medicine by conducting clinical trials. There is a conflict between Ayurvedic and Western medicine because of safety and standards according to the conventional medical practices. People do practice Ayurvedic medicine to replace or use in conjunction with conventional medicine which doctors may don’t advise. Consulting both traditional and Ayurvedic physicians for an alternative lifestyle choice may cause other health complications. It is common for people to turn to holistic therapies because of other benefits such as mental and spiritual wellness. 

Ayurvedic Treatments

There are various treatments and therapies for people seeking Ayurvedic consult. Yoga is a very popular method of practicing alternative health. It provides countless benefits for the physical, spiritual, and mental aspects of our life. Massage therapy is also beneficial as it relieves anxiety, insomnia, stress, and joint pains. Certain oils are used for massage therapies that may release clients into a relaxed state. For example, lavender is essential that has relaxing properties and eases the peaceful experience of a massage. There are neurons in our brains that send signals when we smell particular fragrances. They send messages to the brain informing the body to relax. Acupuncture is a traditional Chinese medicine typically used for patients who suffer from shoulder and back pain, joint stiffness, and knee pain. 

Ultimately, ayurvedic medicine is emerging in the Western world. Although Eastern medicine has not fulfilled safety standards and regulations, yet there are ways to seek alternative health options. Treatments for ayurvedic medicine are available nationwide but will be readily accessible to everyone in the near future at yoga centers, massage parlors, and small health clinics. 

Two Reasons Why Rest is Fundamental in Yoga

Most yogis look forward to the sweet bliss of resting in their savasana, or corpse pose, at the end of each practice. It’s a time of bringing awareness back to the breath, checking in with the body to determine what it needs, and just letting go of the everyday stress associated with daily life. Yogis work hard to incorporate rest into their regular yoga practice, but we don’t spend much time considering why it’s so fundamental to the practice. 

Is it okay to skip this final resting pose occasionally? Some may be tempted to ask this question and skip a seemingly innocuous pose in favor of moving on with their day. However, you won’t want to miss these critical reasons why rest is such an essential part of the practice. 

Rest Helps Our Body To Repair Itself

Both sleep and conscious rest such as that practiced in savasana or meditation is a crucial element to helping the body heal itself. Sleep gives our cells the chance to regenerate and work to repair the damage caused by the wear and tear of life. It can boost the immune system and help your white blood cells to fight off infections. It provides a genuine physical benefit that is linked to increased health in almost every way. 

Conscious rest allows us to work on repairing our bodies differently. When we take the time to note areas of our body that feel tense, overworked, or underworked, we begin to formulate a plan for taking better care of ourselves. We need this time and space to fully process all of the incredible things our bodies do daily. We can better appreciate and respond to their needs when we are aware of their presence. 

Rest Can Lower Anxiety 

Similar to how the frantic pace of the workday takes a toll on our physical bodies, it also has significant consequences for our mental health. The thought of an infinite to-do list leaves us in a constant state of heightened anxiety. Even yogis are sometimes guilty of cramming in more activities than there are hours in the day. Anxiety makes it difficult to be fully present and intentional with each of your choices and interactions. 

Taking the time to consciously rest and release the stresses of the day during savasana and other resting poses gives a break to your mind. Yogis may struggle with the idea of releasing each thought as it comes to mind at first. Over time, your body will crave the release and relaxation that comes from this type of rest. 

You will be better able to move and make decisions in other areas of your life when you are attentive to your body’s need for rest. Both conscious and unconscious rest can play a huge role in the physical and mental health of an individual. Lower your anxiety and boost your health by taking the time out of a busy day to find true rest.

3 Quick and Easy Things to Start Your Day Right

Mornings can be busy and hectic. Whether or not you are a morning person, trying to add in something else to your set routine can be difficult. Overhauling your whole morning schedule to fit in a run, a trip to the gym, and a solid breakfast isn’t all that realistic. Instead, how about looking at little things that are much easier for you to implement.

Nutrition and Hydration

Making sure you have a great morning means making sure your body is getting what it needs to wake up. Your number one need, first thing in the morning, is going to be water. You probably went the last 8 hours or so without any hydration, and this can negatively impact your body. A quick glass of water can boost your mood and start your body’s natural processes. This helps to naturally wake you up.

Food is going to be something else you are going to need shortly after waking up. You don’t need to eat a lot, but a little bite can help settle your stomach, and get you up and running. An apple is a good morning snack, if a full meal isn’t something that works for you. It gives you a boost of natural sugar and has some great fibre to keep full. If you keep a glass of water and an apple on your bedside table, you can get a great start to your day before you even get out of bed. Here are 12 healthiest foods to eat in the morning!

Activity

Another great way to get up is to get moving. First thing in the morning, your body is going to be a little cold and stiff, so you want to start with something gentle. A nice, soothing yoga routine can help you start your day. A short yoga routine, even just 5 minutes long, can help get blood moving, reduce muscle and joint stiffness, and set your day up well mentally.

A great morning sequence to try is the Sun Salutation. There are several different variations to this common sequences, so you should be able to find alternatives to any poses if you suffer from some physical limitations. The folds and stretches that come from this group of poses stimulate your body to wake up. It also takes very little time to go through the Sun Salutation, less than 3 minutes. Run through it twice for a 6-minute wake up that takes less time than one push of the snooze button.

A great morning starts with consuming what your body needs, both food and drink, and getting your circulation going. A quick glass of water is your body’s first requirement in the morning. Add on to that a quick piece of fruit to give your body the energy that it needs to start up. Finally, some gentle yoga to stretch and warm your body up, and you are all ready to go. At this point you can certainly go and have a more vigorous yoga session, a run, or a trip to the gym, whatever you are into and have time for; or just get on with the rest of your day, knowing it is off to a solid start.

 

How to Do Pranayama: Yoga Breathing Technique

Pranayama is the science of breathing in yoga. Prana means “life force” and yama means “to control”. Thus, pranayama allows you to control your life force! In yoga, breathing exercises are used to prepare the body for meditation and to increase energy.

Yoga understands that the breath connects the body and the mind; the breath is the physical manifestation of the mind. While we cannot easily force our minds to calm down, we can easily calm our breath, which then automatically calms the mind down.

Guidelines:

Generally, in pranayama, you breathe through the nose and keep your mouth gently closed. Practice once or twice a day at about the same time. Also, practice before meals and use the restroom before sitting down. In addition, you will want to find a quiet and pleasant place and combine pranayama with yoga postures to reinforce your practice.

How to Position the Body

Sit with your head, neck, and trunk straight. You can sit in a chair, cushion, folded blanket, or on the floor. Whether on the floor or in a chair, tuck a thin pillow or the edge of a folded blanket just under the buttocks so you can tilt your pelvis forward and easily straighten your spine.

Let your hands rest on your knees. The palms of your hands can lie face up or down. There are even hand mudras to use, which can increase the benefits such as the Gyan Mudra which channels knowledge and a sense of groundedness. To perform the Gyan Mudra during pranayama exercises, connect the thumb and the forefinger, placing palms upward and resting hands on knees (see picture below).

Shaping the Breath

In pranayama, we practice diaphragmatic breathing. Also called Belly Breathing, this is the correct way of breathing because it allows for the full process of oxygenation so that your blood receives sufficient oxygen, and as a result, energy. When we breathe shallowly, we feel tired and unmotivated. Diaphragmatic breathing also calms the nervous system and massages and stimulates the heart and all organs of digestion and elimination.

Scan the Breath

To start, we begin by first scanning the breath. You can put your hand on your stomach area (diaphragm). This is good in the beginning to check if you are breathing into your belly area. Breathe low and deep to increase oxygen intake, which signals to your body to calm down. Identify the breath irregularities below:

1.Shallow breathing
2.Interruptions in the flow of breath
3. Noisy breathing
4. Extended pauses
5. Breathing through the mouth

What do I do after scanning the breath?

Next, you will want to begin increasing the breath length:

Try inhaling 2 seconds in your belly-diaphragm area, then 2 seconds into your chest. Then reverse the order: exhale 2 seconds from your chest, and continue exhaling 2 seconds, pushing the last area out of your diaphragm. Increase the seconds gradually. The goal is to achieve a 10-second breath!

Repeat Mantra “So-Hum”

Once you have begun to lengthen the breath, you can silently listen to the mantra “So-Hum”(I am Divine Reality). On the inhalation, hear “So” and on the exhalation hear “Hum”. Continue for 10 minutes to start. You can increase up to 30 minutes if you wish.

Follow up these breathing exercises with meditation. Enjoy increased energy and mind-body-spirit connection!

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