Our breath is intimately connected to our nervous system in a feedback loop. In yoga, breath control is known as Pranayama. Pranayama comes from two Sanskrit words: “prana”, meaning breath or life force, and “yama” meaning to control.
“Breath is the bridge which connects life to consciousness, which unites your body to your thoughts.”~Thích Nhất Hạnh
Three part breathing (also known as abdominal breath or yogic breathing) is a great place to start with pranayama. Due to stress and computer work, we tend to breathe shallow which supports the sympathetic nervous system. The sympathetic nervous system stimulates “fight, flight, freeze or freak out.” This may cause more stress or the feeling of “wired but tired.”
Three Part Breathing:
Inhaling from the bottom up. Deep full slow breath, filling the three parts sequentially.
- Belly opens forward
- Rib cage expands in all directions
- The upper chest, shoulders and throat fill.
Exhaling smoothly from the top to the bottom:
- Chest and shoulders drop
- Rib cage relaxes inward
- Finally the belly moves inward. Use the abdominal muscles and rib cage muscles to push even more air out of the lungs.
Two to One Breathing (also called extended exhale)
To support the parasympathetic nervous system. The parasympathetic nervous system is activated in exhalation and calms one’s being and encourage relaxation:
- Exhale longer and slower than inhale.
Bhramari (humming bee breath)
- Use low buzzing for insomnia – can be used with extended exhale.
For most of us, we don’t recognize that during the day our body changes the predominant side of nostril breathing depending on what the body needs. This science of nostril breathing is called Swara yoga. Right nostril breathing supports the more aggressive, more alert side of our nervous system (or sympathetic). Left side nostril breathing support the more quieter, relaxed side of our nervous system (or parasympathetic).
Right and Left Side of Nostrils:
- When going to bed try laying on left side. Laying on the left side opens the right nostril and generates heat
- Once you are warm, lay on your right side. Falling asleep on the right side opens the left nostril and supports relaxation and deeper sleep.
Dr. Melanie purchased All People Yoga Center in July of 2016 to offer both naturopathic services and yoga with Dragonfly 360 Yoga and Wellness.
“I often refer my patients to yoga, so being able to work with patients and offer yoga classes under the same roof is ideal,” -Dr. Melanie.
Schedule or call (317) 344-9840 to make an appointment