Breathwork intro: alternate nostril pranayama

By April 1, 2019 September 7th, 2019 Yoga
Alternate Nostril Breathwork

Yoga + breath

What is breathwork, and why is there such an emphasis on breath in yoga?

Let’s start with how you’re breathing right now, as you read this. Is this something you think about?

Maybe, maybe not. For the most part our breath is on autopilot. We breathe whether we think about it or not (thank goodness, got enough on my plate!)

BUT what’s so interesting is that if we do start to think about our breath, we begin to control it. We can consciously slow it down, speed it up, pause it. Our awareness affects our breath. Breath is the ONLY function in the body like that. That’s why breath is so special. Breath is the BRIDGE between mind and body, between consciousness and unconsciousness.That’s why there’s so much focus on breathwork in yoga and spiritual traditions across the world.

Cool, right?

Alternate nostril breath

Watch this video to learn a powerful breathing practice called Nadi Shodhana or Alternate Nostril Breath. There’s no right or wrong here! So no worries. It’s all just an experience. You own:

Hopefully you gave it a go! If not, come back whenever you’re called. I will say that there’s never a “right” time to start. If you’re at all curious, it’s for you.

The reason this breath is so powerful is because it quite literally balances the Right and Left hemispheres of our brain. Nadi in Sanskrit means “channel” or “flow” and Shodhana means “purification.” So Nadi Shodhana clears and purifies the subtle channels of our mind-body, and balances our masculine and feminine aspects.

That sounds nice. What does it mean for everyday life?

The everyday

It means that any time we feel off balance, anxious, stressed, frustrated, overwhelmed, exhausted, scared, (fill in your blank___), we can use this breath as a tool to quiet our mind, ground our body, and bring us back to center.

Because the emotional ups and down we experience everyday are Not our core essence. Please know, ALL of your emotions are WHOLLY valid and have got to be processed in order move up and out, but they are passing. If I am sad, I am not sadness. If I am mad, I am not anger. I feel these things, but they are not who I am.

Cut through patterns

Meditative breathing (aka breathwork) CUTS through these loud, looping thoughts down to our subtle essence. Breath is a BRIDGE to our inner selves. That part of us that already has the answer, knows she’s got everything she needs, that she’s powerful and beautiful and abundant, and that everything will be more than ok.

When we tap into This part of ourselves, it’s so very Powerful.

The bridge

Because the mind-body bridge goes both ways. Going inward, when we slow our breath our heart beat steadies, our mind gets the signal that we’re ok, and the fight-or-flight switch turns off. A pattern is intercepted. And that. is. everything. When we become aware of our patterns, we can start to change them.

And going outward, from this inner place of awareness we can set in motion new patterns. We can create the life we’ve always wanted. With healthy ways to process our emotions, thriving relationships, financial stability, work we love, adventure, and most importantly, self-knowing.

While the challenges don’t disappear, our reactions to them can shift. That’s really the practice of yoga. And breath is a tool.

More breathing exercises coming soon. Stay tuned!

Happy practicing! Ksenia

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