Pranayama techniques to ground down, reduce stress and tap into your sacred nature. A 10-minute practice for you.
Pranayama - to restrain or enhance the breath and the life force
Prana: air, life force, energy behind all of life’s expressions (moving, thinking, feeling)
(a)Yama: to increase by restraining
To get ready…
Wake up slowly and gently. Use the bathroom and have some room temperature water.
Set the scene. Make your bed. Light a candle or some palo santo. Play soft instrumental music. The “Insight Timer” App is great for ambient meditation music (and it’s free!).
Find a comfortable seat, keeping the spine long: sitting cross-legged at the edge of a pillow or block with your sitz bones above your hips, legs straight out in front of you or lay down on your back.
Turn your phone on silent and flip it over so you won’t be distracted by receiving incoming calls or texts.
Start with BREATH
Take a deep breath in and exhale with a loud sigh. Do this three times.
Begin to observe your breath, letting your breath breathe you. Is the breath short? Is it deep? Simply notice without judgement, becoming a witness to your breath.
Dirgha Pranayama - 3 part breath - full yogic breathing
Begin to fill the belly with the breath, placing the hands there. Pause. Then the ribs, bringing hands to the torso. Pause. Then the chest, placing one hand on the clavicle. Pause. On the exhale - empty chest, ribs, belly. Inhaling all the way up and exhaling all the way back down.
Repeat 10 full cycles. Layering on Ujayi breath (the ocean sounding breath) if it feels comfortable.
Nadishodna - the channel purifying/alternate nostril breath
Sit up for this pranayama if you aren’t already.
Come into Vishnu Mudra: Take your right hand in front of your face - forming a peace sign. Fold your peace sign (index and middle finger) down towards your palm - leaving the pinky, ring finger and thumb up.**
Plug the right nostril with the thumb and inhale through the left nostril. Pause.
Plug the left nostril with the pinky/ring finger. Pause. Exhale through the right nostril.
Repeat for 5 minutes. Remain mindful of the Dirgha pranayama as you proceed - breathing deep into the belly, ribs and chest.
**Loop your pinky and ring fingers around each other to hold them in place if you are having trouble.
Calms the mind and enhances introversion.
Gently massages the abdominal organs, improving digestion.
Strengthens the breathing muscles.
Releases tension in the chest and abdomen.
Following up your pranayama with a guided meditation or gentle yoga practice is the icing on the cake.