If you want to be happy, breathe in happiness. If you want to be loved, breathe in love. If you want to succeed, breathe in success. Set your intention for every breath while you meditate, and what you wish for will come, if the universe feels it is in your best interest. The power of breath is much more than clearing toxins and supplying body with oxygen while removing carbon dioxide; it is about becoming enlightened as you receive the ability to change your mood, stress level, fatigue, temperature, or energy level.
Through your breath, you can heal your body and mind as you access higher levels of consciousness. In Yoga, we believe in order to change a situation, we must change the energy that governs it. Therefore, to bring positive changes in the body and mind we have to work with the energies through which they work. The universe created us with two large lungs for a reason. Through your breath, you move prana, or energy, and your mental force, chitta, also moves allowing you to open your intuition.
Inhale from your nose and notice which nostril is more open or easier to breathe in with. If the right one is easier, you are in a pitta (fire), energetic state. If the left nostril is easier to breathe from, you are in a kapha or calm, sensitive state. To maintain harmony, we should have equal number of breaths from both nostrils.
To perform nadi adi Shodhan Pranayama (alternate nostril breathing), inhale from the right nostril while closing the left nostril with your pinkie finger. Then, close your right nostril with your thumb as you release your pinkie finger and exhale from the left nostril. Inhale from the left nostril while keeping your thumb on your right nostril; then place your pinkie finger on the left nostril as you release your thumb to exhale from the right nostril. Continue alternating nostril breathing for 26 rounds.
While performing your breathing exercise, always remember to keep the mind calm, and set your intention. For example: you are stressed from a long day and want to relax. Quietly sit down and visualize breathing in blue; then perform your yogic pranayama breath. These ancient breathing exercises clean out internal toxins, change your mood and energy, clear and boost your energy channels, harmonize left and right hemispheres of the brain, purify your nadis, and calm the mind.
Julie Rammal is a US Certified Ayurvedic Practioner, Holistic Health Practioner, Personal Trainer, Sound and Crystal Therapist, Pilates, Yoga, Pre-post natal and Group exercise instructor.