Home' Nova National : Nova December 2015 Contents and when fearful the breath becomes
short and sharp. Stress also brings on
Extending our inward and outward
breath (eg for seven counts on the
inhalation and seven counts on the
exhalation) we become calmer. When
our breath is slow and deep we’re able
to calm and soothe the nervous system
and lower our blood pressure and heart
rate. However practise no more than 10
rounds at a time.
For lots of helpful breathing tips go
Breathing in Yoga Class tip
When you open the body, inhale and
when you compress or twist, exhale.
December 2015 NOVA Magazine
e can go weeks without
food, days without water,
hours without heat
however only minutes
without air. I rreversible brain damage
occurs if we are deprived of air for more
than a few minutes.
The Sanskrit word for breathing is
pranayama. Prana means ‘life force’
and ayama translates as ‘extension’.
Pranayama is the extension and
assimilation of Prana energy through
breathing techniques. Yoga is practised
with the focus on pranayama.
Breathing is a natural function of our
body that happens without conscious
effort but most of us don’t breathe to
our full capacity. This impedes the
removal of waste matter, which results
in retention of toxins. It is in our best
interests to become mindful of this life
Quick, shallow breathing results
in oxygen starvation which leads to
reduced vitality, premature ageing,
weakened immunity and a multitude of
Correct breathing has never been as
important to master as it is today. Our
way of life is very different to the slower
pace of only 50 years ago. There has
never been such rapid advancement in
our social structure as we’re currently
experiencing. We’re being swept along
and left feeling stressed and anxious in
the wake. Mindful breathing can come to
the rescue. A traffic light can create stress
or even someone pushing in front of you
in a queue. Although these may be ‘little
things’, they accumulate and, together
with toxins from poor food choices
and the environment, add up to stress.
Correct breathing will help eliminate
these pollutants and stress!
Babies and animals breathe this way.
Watch a baby breathe and you’ll observe
the abdominal area rising and falling.
‘ It is in our best interests to
become mindful of this life
‘ Watch a baby breathe and you’ll
observe the abdominal area
rising and falling.’
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This way of breathing is one of the most
effective steps you can take to protect
your health and prolong a healthy life.
Be mindful you’re not holding
tension as you breathe a long, steady
breath through your nostrils. Relax
your shoulders. Visualise prana being
drawn in through your nostrils, through
the trachea (windpipe) to the bronchial
tubes then the base of your lungs. Feel
your ribcage rising up and out as the
intercostal muscles stretch and the
diaphragm expands. The abdominal area
will gently rise and fall.
Movement of the diaphragm
massages the stomach, small intestine,
liver, pancreas and heart. This stimulates
blood circulation to these organs.
Additionally, apply the abdominal
lock by squeezing the perineum/vagina
then the abdominal muscle (transverse
abdominus that goes from hip to hip).
Hold while exhaling. Release the locks
as you begin to slowly breathe in. This
exercise is known as kegel and helps
prevent incontinence for men and
women, as well as massaging internal
organs and toning and strengthening the
pelvic floor that supports reproductive
organs and the bladder. Your back
muscles will also thank you!
Mindful breathing is calming,
soothing and healing, bringing feelings of
calm, cleansing, lightness and clarity.
To control our breathing is to have the
skill to control our body and mind to create
the feeling we want for any given situation.
Breathing in a deliberate, slow and
controlled manner will:
• I ncrease our energy levels
• Assist in the removal of toxins
• Oxygenate our brain tending to reduce
• Release stress tension on a cellular level
• Make for a more efficient and
• I ncrease efficiency of digestion and
assimilation of food
• Lower blood pressure
• Stimulate our pituitary and pineal
glands in particular
• Rejuvenate our skin
• I mprove the nervous system
• Strengthen lungs warding off
• Prepare our mind for meditation
During a yoga class some of the
following breathing techniques could
Cleansing the cranial sinuses. Alternating
short, explosive exhales and slightly
longer, passive inhales. Not to be used
if pregnant, have high blood pressure or
hernia. On how to practise refer to
(Alternate Nostril Breath)
Purifies the blood and respiratory system.
This deep breathing enriches the blood
with oxygen, strengthens the respiratory
system and balances the nervous system.
It helps to relieve anxiety and headaches.
Take your mind to how you breathe
when tired. You might yawn to increase
oxygen or may bring on a sigh, expelling
air from your mouth and nose. When
frustrated, your breath becomes shallow,
Breathing is so vital to health that it is the
central focus of yoga, says Jen Kaz.
Perth-based QiYoga instructor Jen Kaz begins a new column with an
overview of yoga’s different styles.
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