Pranayama: The Beginner’s Guide to Yoga Breathing Exercises 0 17

Man wearing dark blue shirt doing pranayama while in a deep yoga pose, yoga breathing exercises for beginners, Pranayama: The Beginner’s Guide to Yoga Breathing Exercises

A lot of people believe that the secret to recharging your mind is through breathing. Pranayama is a yogic breathing exercise that offers numerous benefits such as reducing stress and improving one’s physical health. However, before practicing some yoga breathing exercise for beginners, you have to learn and understand the principles of pranayama.

Understanding Prana

Before we go to the different yoga breathing exercises for beginners, it is best to understand prana and its effects to your body. By understanding this concept, you will be able to efficiently perform the pranayama.

In yoga, prana is the energy or life force that nourishes our minds and keeps our bodies alive. While our blood flows through various blood vessels and capillaries, the prana flows through a number of delicate energy channels known as nadis.




So, what is the connection between breathing and prana? As you know, our life force ends when we stop breathing. However, some people are breathing and still have a low prana. Thus, some yoga experts describe prana as the life force that rides on our breaths to flow freely.

But, what does it mean to have a low or high prana? Basically, when the prana is able to continuously flow throughout the body, it brings forth a calm and positive state of mind. A person with a low prana, on the other hand, frequently experiences negative emotions such as worry, tensions, fear, and uncertainty. This is because of the broken flow of their prana.

Thus, pranayama aims to improve your life’s quality by expanding your prana or improving your breathing.

Pranayama and Its Benefits

After defining prana or life force, let’s move on to the meaning of pranayama. In yoga, Ayama is defined as “to extend or expand.” Thus, a lot of yogis interpret the pranayama practice as a way to liberate one’s prana all over their body through the help of controlled breathing.

As a result, pranayama provides the following health benefits:

  • Revitalizes your body, mind, and spirit
  • Reduces anxiety and worry by calming your mind
  • Removes brain fog by improving your focus and concentration
  • Increases your energy
  • Creates enthusiasm or a positive mentality
  • Boosts your immunity
  • May help prevent premature aging

Pranayama and Controlling Your Emotions

Before we go to the various yoga breathing exercises for beginners, let me first present another valuable benefit of pranayama – controlling your emotions.

As you know, there is a connection between your breathing and emotions. You may have noticed that your breathing is fast when you’re anxious or angry. Thus, if we understand our breathing patterns, we can conquer any negative emotion through our minds.

In one study, it was shown that mimicking breathing patterns (sad, angry, or happy) can create a matching emotional state. An example for this is when directors instruct their actors to breathe slower and softer for a peaceful scene or to breathe faster to show anger and conflict.




With that, one of the main principles of pranayama is to overpower your negative emotions through the skillful use of various breathing techniques. Many yogis consider this practice as a powerful tool to enhance their inner peace and overall well-being.

5 Yoga Breathing Exercises for Beginners

1. Bhramari Pranayama or Humming Bee Breath

In this list of yoga breathing exercises for beginners, the Bhramari Pranayama is the practice that can calm a worried, agitated, and frustrated mind. Moreover, people with high blood pressure will greatly benefit from this pranayama.

2. Nadi Shodhan Pranayama or Alternate Nostril Breathing

As mentioned, nadi is the energy channel where prana flows. When various factors such as stress and toxic substances block these subtle energy channels, a person may experience negative emotions. Among these feelings are depression, inability to concentrate, and irritation. Fortunately, the Nadi Shodhan can help clear these blocked channels.

3. Ujjayi or Victory Breath

The Ujjayi pranayama is the most popular yoga breathing exercises for beginners. One reason is that this breathing technique demonstrates a clear link between our emotions and breathing. Thus, by practicing this pranayama, you’ll be able to calm your mind and release your pent-up feelings.

4. Bhrastrika Pranayama or Bellows Breath

Aside from calming the mind, Bhastrika pranayama has a rejuvenating influence to your body. Thus, increasing your energy levels.

However, before practicing this breathing exercise, you must first practice the Nadi Shodhan pranayama for at least three months.

5. Kapalbhati or Skull Shining Breath

Kapalbhati literally means “the shining forehead.” Basically, most yogis believe that a glowing forehead is not only a sign of a healthy body. A forehead that shines is also an indication of a sharp and refined mind.

With that, kapalbhati pranayama is an effective way to cleanse your body and clear your energy channels. As a result, your entire system has a perfect balance.

A Few Reminders before Practicing Pranayama

Keep in mind that pranayama deal with a delicate force. As such, one of the best tips for yoga beginners is to seek and learn from a certified yoga instructor. They will not only guide you on the proper way to perform these breathing techniques. They can also answer your questions and help you understand that philosophy of yoga.




Aside from that, some yoga breathing exercises for beginners are not for everyone. The kapalbhati and bhastrika pranayama should not be performed by individuals with high blood pressure, heart diseases, and glaucoma. People who have recently undergone a major surgery should also avoid these breathing exercises. Lastly, these types of pranayama are not recommended for pregnant women.

Sources:

Understanding Pranayama – https://www.artofliving.org/yoga/breathing-techniques/yoga-and-pranayama

Respiratory Feedback in the Generation of Emotion (study) – https://www.researchgate.net/publication/232965660_Respiratory_feedback_in_the_generation_of_emotion

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7 Simple Yoga Poses to Wave off Neck Pain 0 3

Back view of a woman wearing white and blue top holding her neck, yoga poses for neck pain, 7 Simple Yoga Poses to Wave Off Neck Pain

Nowadays, a lot of people suffer from neck pain. Various factors can cause this discomfort. Most of the time, a neck pain occurs due to improper posture when sitting or sleeping. Another common cause is when we hunch our backs when using our cellphone, tablets, or computers. Fortunately, you can do various yoga poses for neck pain to help ease your aches. The best part is that these activities can also relax your body, mind, and soul.

1. Ear to Shoulder Pose

One of the best yoga poses for neck pain is the ear to shoulder asana (pose). Basically, this yoga stance can help ease your neck’s lateral movement. At the same time, this pose also stretches your trapezius and shoulder muscles.

You can either perform the ear to shoulder pose standing or sitting. But, you have to make sure that your spine is straight.

To do this stance, look straight while keeping your arms are at the sides. While deep breathing, let your right ear fall down to your shoulder. As much as possible, you have to avoid bending your head backward or forward. Then, return to your initial position while inhaling. Afterward, repeat the process moving to your left side while exhaling.

For a deep stretch, let your hand guide your head when bending towards your shoulder. You can repeat the procedures seven to ten times.

2. Legs-Up-the-Wall Pose

The legs-up-the-wall pose stretches the muscles in your back and neck, relieving your aches in that area. Aside from that, this stance can also ease your fatigue, calm your mind, and reduce the tension in your neck and spine.

To perform this yoga asana, you will need to place a folded towel underneath your hips. From there, just lay on the floor while your legs touch the wall and your arms rest on your side. Keep in mind that you should keep your legs straight during the pose. Additionally, your feet and palms should be facing the ceiling. You can move on to the next asana after five to ten minutes.

3. Seated Twist Pose

Third, in this list of yoga poses for neck pain is the seated twist pose. This asana can make the entire spine including the neck more flexible.

The first step in doing the seated twist pose is to sit on the floor, keeping both your legs stretched at your front and hands at your sides. From there, bend your leg (right) and put your right foot outside your extended left leg. Next is to sit straight, inhale, and stretch your left arm. While exhaling, turn your upper body to the right and wrap your left arm around your bent leg (right). Your right hand should be placed behind your tailbone. Finally, while keeping your spine straight, move your chin to your right shoulder. You can bend your right arm slightly, allowing your shoulder to go downwards. Hold this pose for at least five to seven deep breaths. Repeat the procedure on your other side.

4. Bridge Pose

The bridge pose is a simple stance that can help strengthen your core and relieve neck pain.

To do this asana, start by lying on the floor. Bend your knees and move your feet apart (hip-width). Place your arms at your sides with your palms facing the floor and your fingertips slightly touching your heels. The next step is to inhale, press your feet, and lift your hips. Then, press your arms and lift your chest. Try to extend your hips higher by contracting your legs and buttocks. Hold this pose for about four to eight deep breaths. Afterward, exhale and move your spine slowly back to your initial position.

5. Cow-Cat Pose

The next in this list of yoga poses for neck pain is a combination of two asanas – the cow and the cat. Basically, these two poses can help relieve pain and stress by stretching and bending your neck.

To do these two poses, start with the hands and knees position. From there, let’s start with the cow pose. When inhaling, raise your chin and tailbone up while letting your belly drop. You should not place any pressure on your neck.

When exhaling, you will do the cat pose. This asana will look like a cat when he’s stretching his back. The first step is to move your spine upward while pulling your belly towards your spine. Then, release your head while moving your chin near your chest. Finally, you can repeat the two poses 5 to 20 times and rest.

6. Child’s Pose

Aside from relieving your back and neck pain, the child’s pose also stretches your ankles, thighs, and hips – resulting in a calm and refreshing feeling.

To perform this pose, start on your hands and knees. While exhaling, drop your hips slowly to your heels and stretch your arms in your front. As you bring your head to the ground, stretch your arms and shoulders. From there, just relax, let go of your neck, and hold the stance for 30 seconds to a couple of minutes.

When lowering your hips, don’t push yourself. Just lower it as far as your body allows. Additionally, because the pose places the head underneath the heart, people with eye problems and high blood pressure should avoid doing this yoga asana.

7. Corpse Pose

Finally, the last in this list of yoga poses for neck pain is the corpse pose. As one of the most invigorating asana, yogis do this stance at the end of their session.

To perform this final pose, just comfortable lay your body flat on the floor, extending your arms and legs. If you’re not comfortable keeping your legs straight, you can slightly bend your knees while keeping your soles on the ground. If you’re still feeling uneasy, you can make necessary adjustments such as moving your head sideways or wiggling your hips. Once you’re comfortable, you can now relax, breathe naturally, and close your eyes. From there, let go of the remaining pressure in your spine or neck and drift to the tranquility of the pose for about 15 minutes.

Overall, all these yoga poses can help ease the tensions and pain your back, shoulders, and neck. However, it is best to seek the guidance of a yoga instructor before performing these asanas. This is especially true if you are just getting started with yoga. Your instructor can also teach you the philosophies behind this ancient practice. You can also learn other yoga techniques like pranayama.

Sources:

Yoga Poses for Neck Pain – https://www.doyouyoga.com/6-best-yoga-poses-for-neck-pain-relief/

Heal Your Neck and Shoulder Pain – https://yogainternational.com/article/view/heal-your-neck-shoulder-pain

Yoga Poses to Help Relieve Neck Pain – http://www.chopra.com/articles/6-yoga-poses-to-help-relieve-neck-pain#sm.00015linjf75kehntst1pidvvgvzp

Basic Tips to Get Started with Yoga 0 11

young lady wearing white shirt and gray pants doing yoga in a park, background grass and plants, yoga tips for beginners, Basic Tips to Get Started with Yoga

When we encounter the term yoga, most of us think of hard and complex poses that involve flexibility, balance, and body coordination. For this reason, most of us pick other exercises over yoga. However, this activity can offer numerous benefits that go beyond the physical aspect. The best part, it is easy and relaxing, especially if you follow these yoga tips for beginners.

The Best Yoga Tips for Beginners

1. Consult Your Doctor and Yoga Instructor Before Starting

Like any other types of exercises, consulting your doctor is necessary before starting a workout program. This is essential to know your limitations and prevent injuries.

You can also inform your yoga instructor about your objectives and expectations. From there, your trainer can create a workout plan suitable for your goals and fitness level.

2. Always Follow the Guidance of Your Yoga Instructor

One of the most valuable yoga tips for beginners is to always follow the guidance of your instructor. Through this, you’ll be able to learn the correct technique, posture, and sequence of various poses. This will also help prevent possible injuries.

Aside from that, always remember that yoga is not only focused on the body. You can learn numerous philosophies and lessons through this activity. Thus, keeping an open mind can bring forth a meaningful yoga experience.

3. Wear Proper and Comfortable Clothes

The type of yoga class plays a vital role when choosing the right clothes. Nonetheless, always pick comfortable clothes that allow you to stretch and move with ease. Moreover, avoid wearing accessories like belts and pieces of jewelry. These items may hinder you from doing several yoga poses.

4. Do Yoga on An Empty Stomach

Doing yoga on an empty stomach is vital for various reasons. One reason is that you may experience digestive problems when bending or twisting if your stomach is full. Thus, yoga experts and instructors recommend to do yoga first thing in the morning or at least two to three hours after eating.

In addition, keeping yourself well hydrated throughout the day is also essential. This will help your body get rid of the toxins released during your yoga session.

5. Relax and Breathe

For most beginners, you may perceive this exercise as an activity for flexible people. However, keep in mind that yoga is all about connecting your body, mind, and soul. So, don’t fret if you can’t touch your toes when bending – you’ll eventually get there.

Always remember, breathing is a key variable in yoga. When your breathing is long and light, your muscles start to relax. With relaxed muscles, you can easily stretch your body and hold your pose. But, if your breathing is uneven or rough, it means that you’re over-exerting.

Hence, one important advice in this list of yoga tips for beginners is to breathe, relax, and enjoy your yoga experience. And, don’t forget to smile.

6. Start Slow and Steady

With today’s busy lifestyle, most of us are always in a hurry. Through yoga, you’ll learn to slow down.

Keep in mind that to get the benefits of yoga, you have to perform each pose in a mindful and slow manner. Yoga is never about competition or who gets to the finish line first. So, start at your own pace and don’t push your body beyond its limits.

Aside from that, don’t worry if you experience muscle soreness after your yoga sessions. But, you should inform your instructor if you feel any pain.

8. Yoga is All About Being Unique

Comparing yourself to other yoga practitioners is one way to destroy your motivation. Remember, every person has a unique body. Some may perform a certain yoga pose easily and gracefully, while others may need more time and practice. But, you’ll eventually get there.

Thus, one of the best yoga tips for beginners is to appreciate your uniqueness. Basically, yoga is not just a physical activity. It is also a way to understand yourself and world around you. Like other fitness programs, practice and patience will help you achieve your goals and improve your body.

9. Commitment is a Key to Success

Committing to a regular yoga session is a challenge because of various factors. This is especially true if you have a busy schedule. But, there are several ways to develop consistency.

For example, you can attend our yoga class in the afternoon if you can’t do it in the morning. You can also schedule the session during the weekend instead of a weekday.

Once you’ve fixed your schedule, allow your body to get used to the activity and avoid pressuring yourself to do more. The most important thing is that you’re feeling good and having fun.

10. Take the Time to Relax After Your Yoga Workout

After completing your yoga session, take the time to lie down and relax your mind and body. This will not only help your body cool down. It will also combine the energy you’ve produced during your workout.

Overall, these yoga tips for beginners can help you perform this activity with ease. Always remember, yoga will not only improve your body. It can also offer a deeper spiritual experience through meditation, timeless philosophies, and breathing techniques (pranayamas).

Sources:

Yoga for Beginners – https://www.artofliving.org/11-yoga-beginners-tips

Ways to Get Started with Yoga – http://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/fitness/in-depth/yoga-3-easy-ways-to-get-started/art-20269955?pg=1

Tips for Getting Started with Yoga – https://yoga.com/article/8-tips-to-get-you-started-with-yoga

What to Wear When Doing Yoga – http://www.fitnessadvisory.org/2012/12/28/what-not-to-wear-for-your-yoga-practice/

Reasons to Do Yoga on an Empty Stomach – https://www.gaia.com/article/yoga-and-eating-do-not-mix

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