There is a way of breathing that's a shame and a suffocation and there's another way of expiring, a Love breath,
that lets you open infinitely. ♥♥ Rumi
"There is nothing about your physical awareness that connects you more to the Non-Physical aspect of your Being than that of your breathing. Abraham
Abdominal Breathing or Diaphramatic Breathing
Chronic stress can lead to a restriction of the connective and muscular tissue in the chest resulting in a decrease range of motion of the chest wall. Due to rapid more shallow breathing, the chest does not expand as much as it would with slower deeper breaths and much of the air exchange occurs at the top of the lung tissue towards the head. This results in "chest" breathing. You can tell if you are a chest breather by placing one hand on your chest by your collar bones and one hand on your belly below your naval. See if the upper hand moves as you breathe. If so, you are a chest breather. Chest breathers are chronically stressed. Chest breathing is also inefficient because the greatest amount of blood flow occurs in the lower lobes of the lungs, areas that have limited air expansion in chest breathers. Rapid, shallow, chest breathing results in less oxygen transfer to the blood and subsequent poor delivery of nutrients to the tissues. The good news is that similar to learning to play an instrument or riding a bike, you can train the body to improve its breathing technique. With regular practice you will breathe from the abdomen most of the time, even while asleep.
The diaphragm is a large muscle located between the chest and the abdomen. When it contracts it is forced downward causing the abdomen to expand. This causes a negative pressure within the chest forcing air into the lungs. The negative pressure also pulls blood into the chest improving the venous return to the heart. This leads to improved stamina in both disease and athletic activity. Like blood, the flow of lymph, which is rich in immune cells, is also improved. By expanding the lung's air pockets and improving the flow of blood and lymph, abdominal breathing also helps prevent infection of the lung and other tissues. But most of all it is an excellent tool to stimulate the relaxation response that results in less tension and an overall sense of well being. Dr. Oz says we have a 4 Liter lung capacity so with practice, we can access that.
1. Place one hand on your belly and one hand on your chest
2. When you inhale very slowly, feel your belly expand like a balloon
3. Feel your belly flatten as you exhale slowly and completely
Ujjayi Breath or Victorious Breath
It concentrates and directs the breath, giving asana practice extra power and focus.This pranayama is most often used in association with the practice of yoga poses, especially in the vinyasa style. Vinyasa yoga is breath-synchronized movement, and the breath used is Ujjayi breath. Learn this breath while seated in a comfortable cross-legged position. Once you feel confident, begin to use it during asana practice. If you have not mastered diaphramatic breathing yet, do not practice ujjayi yet.
1.Inhale deeply with your mouth open and constrict your throat as if you were fogging up a pair of glasses and exhale. Repeat on the inhale. The breath will have an oceanic sound to it.
3.When you are able to control the throat on both the inhale and the exhale, close the mouth and begin breathing through the nose. Continue applying the same toning to the throat that you did when the mouth was open. The breath will still make a loud noise coming in and out of the nose. Work towards making the sound as smooth as possible.
Kapalabhati: Kriya Cleansing Breath
Benefits: cleansing, invigorating, warming, prevents illness and allergies. This breath consists of rapid, forced exhales followed by passive inhales.
1. Sit in a comfortable crosslegged position or easy pose.
2. Take two or three deep inhales and exhales through the nose to prepare.
3. Inhale to a comfortable level, and then exhale sharply and forcefully through the nose, drawing the belly in as you exhale.
4. Let the inhale happen passively, and continue this cycle of forceful exhales and passive inhales at a fast pace, so that the belly is pumping continuously.
5. Can add a retention or holding the breath after completing a specific number of repetitions for only as long as is comfortable. Retention of the breath should never be forced and you will build up to longer retentions with practice.
Come back to normal breathing if you feel lightheaded at any time. Work up to 5 minutes gradually. Alternate Nostril Breathing is often practiced following Kapalabhati practice.
Alternative Nostril Breathing Nadi Shodhana or Nadi Shuddhi:
Nadi means channel and refers to the energy pathways through which prana flows. Shuddhi means cleansing. Hence Nadishuddhi means channel cleansing. This pranayama or breathing practice triggers deep relaxation. It balances the right and left hemispheres of the brain which leaves the mind calm and centered. It prepares the mind for meditation.
1. Sit in Easy Pose. Your left hand is in Gyan Mudra (index finger and thumb lightly touching) on your left knee.
2. Inhale through the left nostril (Close your right nostril with your right thumb
3. Exhale through your right nostril (Close your left nostril with your right index or ring finger
4. Inhale through your right nostril (Close your left nostril with your right index or ring finger
5. Exhale through your left nostril (Close your right nostril with your thumb
6. Exhales should be twice as long as inhales
7. If you want to include retention (holding the breath in or out between breaths, it should be held twice as long as exhales
Never force breathing or retention-work up slowly at your own pace to longer breaths and longer retentions. Work up to 5 minutes gradually and practice daily. This should not be practiced if you have a cold or a sinus infection if one of your nostrils is blocked. If you are pregnant, check with your doctor before practicing any breathing exercises that require breath retention of any sort. The holding of the breath or retention between inhales and exhales helps to regulate and direct the flow of prana in the body and stores prana in your body.
The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying pages 58-59
Why Meditate? Sogyal Rinpoche writes: "Generally we waste our lives, distracted from our true selves, in endless activity; meditation, on the other hand, is the way to bring us back to ourselves, where we can really experience and taste our full being, beyond all habitual patterns. Our lives are lived in intense and anxious struggle, in a swirl of speed and aggression, in competing, grasping, possessing, and achieving, forever burdening ourselves with extraneous activities and preoccupations.
Meditation is the exact opposite. To meditate is to make a complete break with how we "normally" operate, for it is a state free of all cares and concerns, in which there is no competition, no desire to possess or grasp at anything, no intense and anxious struggle, and no hunger to achieve: an ambition-less state where there is neither acceptance nor rejection, neither hope nor fear, a state in which we slowly begin to release all those emotions and concepts that have imprisoned us into the space of natural simplicity." --
The So Hum (aka So Ham, Soham or Sohum) Mantra Meditation
So Hum literally means "I am That" (So = "That" or "Thou" or "Divinity"; Hum = "I am")
The mantra’s aim is to bring about this union (yoga) between your individual consciousness and Divine Consciousness. Done sincerely, is very effective in bringing about a complete transformation of individual consciousness.
As you inhale, allow the mind to be aware of the vibration Sooooooo as your attention moves upward along the subtle cord of the spine (sushumna), through the chakras towards the crown of the head. As you exhale, allow the mind to be aware of the vibration Hummmmmm as your attention moves downward along the subtle spine towards the perineum at the base of the spine, at the flat place between the genital area and the anus. Be aware of a thin, steady stream of energy and consciousness flowing up and down between this area near the base of the spine and the crown of the head.
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Chakra Dhyana is an ancient meditation that cleanses and opens the seven major energy centers in the body, also known as Chakras.This powerful meditation clears, activates, energizes and awakens the Chakras, or major energy centers of the body. By focusing awareness on each chakra while chanting the ‘sound frequency’ of that energy center, the chakra is healed and activated to it’s full potential, clearing past traumas and bringing balance to the mind, body and soul.This simple meditation, when practiced regularly, will enhance and deepen your connection to yourself and all that is, and create more energy in your daily life. Can purchase the CD on iTunes and Amazon.com