It is important to check in with your breath regularly. You can do this before meeting a friend, going to a meeting or scrolling on social media. Literally take a personal moment to catch your breath. You will feel better. Breathing sends oxygen to the blood and the organs to help the body function properly. Our breathing rate is associated with our minds and our bodies; physically, mentally and emotionally. When you practice controlling the breath you can control the mind and emotions. You can calm your overall self so that you think and act clearer and more effective. Breathing techniques can help calm and energize the nervous system, cleanse the body, balance the energy, increase circulation, increase lung capacity and overall revitalises you!

In yoga, long deep breathing is a basic breathing technique practiced and one to master. It is a great way to calm the body down as the breath is slow and deep. When you inhale through the nose you expand the belly out like a balloon, and as you exhale through the nose you bring the belly in towards the spine. Try to keep the belly relaxed. It helps when you place your hand on the belly and start with a count of 4 on each inhalation and exhalation. Eventually you want to increase that count to 10. Take note in how the body feels. Begin by breathing 26 times or any amount of time that works for you. Eyes are usually closed with a gentle focus between the eyebrows, activating the pituitary gland. You can practice long deep breathing anytime of the day either in a seated position or laying on the back.

We are predominately breathing through one nostril more than the other, which often changes throughout the day. To test this, put your finger underneath your nose and exhale through the nose. You might need to move the finger from side to side as you exhale. You will likely feel more air coming from one side of your nostril more than the other. It’s natural for the body to automatically breathe through either side of the nose, however there are times when using breathing techniques to control this can be beneficial. The left nostril is associated with cooling, calming and cleansing. The right nostril is associated with warming, energizing, alertness and concentration. When you breathe long and deep through the left nostril by blocking the right, it helps keep you calm when you are emotional or feeling off in anyway. Breathing long and deep through the right nostril, will give you more energy if you are feeling tired. To balance both the energetic and emotional side together you would do alternate nostril breathing, another breathing exercise.

In Kundalini Yoga, Breath of fire is the most common breathing technique. This is one of my personal favorites. It is used alone and in postures. Breath of fire is an equal inhale and exhale through the nose. Sometimes it is done in and out through the mouth. Breath of Fire is normally quite rapid, without a pause between the inhale and exhale. Naturally you will notice the belly pulse with the rhythm of the breath. You know you are doing this one right, when you can do it forever. It awakens the energy in the body, from the lower chakras to the upper chakras. For woman that are pregnant, this breath is not to be practiced; long deep breathing is recommended. And for woman on the first few days of their menstrual cycle, it is recommend doing long deep breathing or a light breath of fire.

Remember to check in with your breath. Use the power of the breath. Use it well. Feel the dance of the breath move in and out through the body. Feel the energy of the breath create space in the body for healing and transformation.  Let the breath guide you.

Sat Nam