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Yoga for daily life: Purifying Breath Techniques

The essence of yoga is really all about purification. Keeping the body pure and healthy through the physical asanas, detoxifying the mind of negative thoughts and emotions and creating space in the breath for this ‘prana’ or life force energy to flow.

Featured breathing technique

Nadi Shodhan. We introduce this gently purifying ‘pranayama’ (breath) technique to help clear out blocked energy channels in the body, which in turn calms the mind. ‘Nadi’ means subtle energy channel and ‘Shodhan’ represents cleaning and purification. This can be done anytime of the day, not just on the yoga mat – we suggest two to three times daily to really experience the benefits.

  1. Sit comfortably with your spine long and shoulders relaxed
  2. Place the tip of the index finger and middle finger of the right hand between the eyebrows, the ring finger and little finger on the left nostril, thumb on the right
  3. Press your thumb down on the right nostril and breathe out gently through the left
  4. Now breathe in from the left nostril, close the left nostril gently and breathe out from the right
  5. Breathe in from the right nostril and exhale from the left. This is one round – try nine
Other benefits of purifying breath techniques?

Our minds have a tendency to regret or glorify the past or get anxious about the future. This helps us to stay present. It helps harmonise the left and right hemispheres of the brain, which correlate to the logical and emotional sides of our personalities. This breath technique prepares the body and mind for meditation, so try a short meditation afterwards.

Yoga for daily life: Postures to open your heart

Tightness around the chest and shoulders is often put down to the stress and tension of daily life, but it can also be the body’s natural defence against our hearts getting hurt. Heart-opening postures can help to gently open your heart through yoga – to new loves, life experiences and feelings of happiness and wellbeing.

Featured posture

Setu-Bhandu (bridge pose). As well as being a beautiful heart-opening posture, this also strengthens the spine, improves spinal flexibility and stimulates the thyroid gland. For the ultimate in restorative healing, use a block underneath your lower spine (just where the top of your buttocks start) to work with the adrenals and deeply relax the body.

  1. Lie on your back, knees bent, feet parallel
  2. Lift hips up
  3. Interlace fingers behind your back, drawing your shoulder blades together
  4. Lift the hips higher
  5. Draw the chest toward the chin
  6. Release the hands and peel the spine back to the mat
  7. Rest, allowing the knees to come together

After practicing heart-opening postures like this, you will feel lighter, brighter and more receptive to the beautiful things around you – especially to love!

Why not try Anusara yoga, which is a yoga philosophy completely dedicated to opening the heart? Make sure you focus on your breath when undertaking any posture or practice, for the breath will tell you all you need to know… when you learn to listen.