Autumn,  self care,  stress

Breathing to focus a busy mind

Pranayama is the fourth of the eight limbs of yoga, as outlined by Patanjali in The Yoga Sutras. It refers to mastering the breath through focused breathing practices and is a precursor to the physical, asana, practice of yoga.

Deep, slow breathing has been shown to stimulate the vagus nerve and activate the parasympathetic nervous system. In non-science speak it helps us to access the systems in our body which calm us down. Another way to look at it is that slowing the breath down is a great way to settle our mind and body.

Previously I’ve written about the 3-part breath and alternate nostril breathing. These are two great places to start if pranayama is new to you. The posts even have videos attached to help you get started.

If you’ve been practicing pranayama for a while or would like to venture onto something a bit different this one is for you. Triangle breath is a great way to begin holding the breath, as we only want to retain the inhales. There are benefits to holding the breath in this practice and these include:

  • Increasing the air entering the lungs
  • Boosting physical and mental vitality
  • Improving concentration
  • Increases levels of oxygen
  • Clears and calms the mind

Here’s a video guiding you through the practice, please remember to always work within your own comfort range and to go easily. If you have asthma or any other issue which affects your breathing, please check with your GP before beginning to work with breath retentions.

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