Before delving into the matters of detox, I’ll be spending some time explaining the building blocks required to live a life full of vitality and strength. Without a basic understanding of how this all works, it’s difficult to understand the severity of some issues I’ll bring up later…
Breathing is critical. It supplies our bodies and its vital organs with the supply of oxygen so that we can survive and thrive. It is also a means by which we eliminate waste products and toxins from our bodies.
One of the first things you learn in any type of yoga is to breathe properly. Most of us forget how to breathe as we pass through life stages. If you’ve ever noticed a sleeping baby breathing, this is the absolute perfected breath. Inhaling all the way into the navel means expanding the belly and exhaling completely means bringing the navel all the way back in towards the spine.
Breathing properly has a number of benefits. Because each breath brings prana (life force) to our bodies, by mastering our breath to slow and deepen it, we begin to control the energy that it brings. As we get better at breathing and become more conscious of it we begin to release tension and calm our minds. We’re better able to think and raise our consciousness.
Noticing and changing your breathing patterns can change your state of mind in as little as 3 minutes.
Alternate nostril breathing allows you to balance yourself. The theme of polarities arises quite often in Yoga. The left and right nostrils act as regulators for our energy levels. At any given moment one nostril is more open than the other. A natural switch happens every 2 ½ hours.
Our left side draws its energy from the moon. It is our calming and cooling side and is tied to our parasympathetic system. When we breathe through the left nostril by gently blocking the right, we begin to feel the calming effects almost immediately. The right side is associated with the sun and our sympathetic system. When we’re feeling sluggish and down, right nostril breathing while blocking the left boosts our energy and wakes us up.
To experience alternate nostril breathing try this exercise:
Sit comfortably with the spine completely straight. Pretend your head tied to a string from the ceiling. The string is lifting you and making you taller. Now use the thumb and the index finger of your right hand to make a U shape. Use the index finger to gently block the left nostril and inhale deeply through the right. When you’re done inhaling deeply, close the right nostril and exhale through the left. Then inhale through the left with your right nostril closed and continue the pattern. Try this for 3-5 minutes. At the end take a deep inhale, hold briefly and relax.