This week’s change has so many benefits I don’t even know where to begin! It might sound crazy me telling you to just breathe as part of your weekly change but the importance of breathing, and correct breathing at that, can really change how you feel and how your body works.
You need your breath for life itself, like the beating of your heart, it is so important your body just does it for you, unprompted. This is a testimony to just how important it is. Without having to think about it, you breath!
If any of you have been lucky enough to ever attend a yoga class you will be familiar with that ‘Yoga Stoned’ feeling at the end where you just float out of the class. Why is this? Why is it so different from other fitness classes? Well for the one you focused on correct breathing for the entire class and so your body, mind and soul leaves in tip-top condition!
This week’s change will only take 10 minutes a day and is best done first thing in the morning. However, it is beneficial at any time and can even be done on your lunch break or right before bed.
It is fantastic for anyone who suffers from anxiety, stress, depression and many other physical illnesses. It can really help if you suffer from allergies or congestion on a regular basis and is excellent for sinus or migraine sufferers.
So how do you do this wonderful breathing technique? Check out this simple and informative video.
If it doesn’t play for your right away the link is here.
Here is a comprehensive list of all the benefits of this breathing technique courtesy of The Healthy Living Lounge
Revitalizes you: A few rounds of alternate nostril breathing is a quick pick me up if you are feeling flat, tired or even stressed. It provides your body with a much needed dose of extra energy.
Improves brain function: When your mind is dull – concentration and clarity is poor. Alternate nostril breathing brings equal amounts of oxygen to both sides of the brain for improved brain function. Five minutes of alternate nostril breathing before an exam or interview is a great way to access your whole brain for improved performance. Remember the brain loses hydration first so drink water as well.
Cleanses your lungs: A daily five minute practice morning and night of alternate nostril breathing is great way to remove stale air and impurities from the bottom of your lungs. It wasn’t until I started reading the The Tao of Natural Breathing by Dennis Lewis that I discovered something I did not know. 70% of our body’s waste products are eliminated via our lungs.
Enhances physical performance: Focused alternating nostril breathing allows more clean, nourishing, oxygen to enter your system fuelling performance, aiding muscle movement, increasing fitness and overall lung capacity. If you are training for a marathon, race, competition or just trying to increase your overall fitness you will find this technique so beneficial.
Calms an agitated mind: I’m prone to worrying. A few minutes of focused alternate nostril breathing is helpful (for me) in calming my “over thinking” and “over-doing” mind. The ancient yogis believe that if you can regulate your breath, then you can control your mind.
Merges the left “thinking” brain and right “feeling brain: Alternate nostril breathing optimizes both sides of your brain so you can access your whole brain, and all the benefits that go with it. Try it out next time you need to drive your car. Cover your left nostril with your thumb and breathe only through your right nostril for one minute. This should keep you more alert when driving.
Encourage a calmer emotional state: In times of emotional distress and upset, a few rounds of mindful nostril breathing will soften the intensity of over reactive emotional states. The longer you practice, the more stable your thinking, and the calmer your emotions will become.
Improves sleep: If you can’t sleep at night lay on your right hand side, gently close your right nostril with your right thumb and breath through your left nostril. This will activate your parasympathetic nervous system which will calm you down and slow your heart rate. Left nostril breathing is cooling, calming and nourishing for your whole being.
Soothes your nervous system: By focusing on your breath and deepening it, your brain will register this message and trigger the parasympathetic nervous system. You have effectively switched your nervous system from a stressed response, into a relaxation response. Single left nostril breathing (by closing your right nostril) will direct the flow of oxygen and energy to the right hemisphere of your brain, allowing once again, for the parasympathetic nervous system to be switched on. Gosh, your breath and nose is very clever.
Regulates the cooling and warming cycles of the body: Left nostril is feminine, nurturing, calm, receiving and cooling. Right nostril is masculine, heat, competitive, doing, active and force. Favouring one nostril more than the other can effect the heat or coolness of your body.
Cleanses the blood: It oxygenates your blood and allows the energy (prana) in your body to be strong and flowing. It encourages the cleansing of toxins from the blood and purifies your system for optimum function.
Now I really don’t think you need any more convincing than that! This will really help you in almost every aspect of your life. It may take some time to get used to and you will have to be dedicated to setting aside the time to do it each day but once you start I just know you’ll love it and reap all the rewards!