Video Step by Step Yoga Relaxation Breathing Techniques
Yesterday I posted an article and video interview with my friend, yoga instructor Niki G., discussing relaxation techniques for stress and anxiety. Niki and I also talked about how yoga is helpful for numerous health problems (including weight loss, high blood pressure, multiple sclerosis, etc.)
Mounting medical evidence supports yoga’s mind-body healing powers. For example, after a yoga workout you will actually have more GABA (gamma-aminobutyric acid) in your brain, a potent anti-anxiety chemical that improves your overall feeling of well-being. Yoga is helpful for improving your metabolism and weight loss. It’s even good for chasing away the blues and keeping you feeling happy. Yoga keeps your joints young and flexible, easing the pain of arthritis and helps you move more freely as you age. And, if you suffer from fibromyalgia the stretching and meditation involved in yoga can help relieve pain and even alleviate fatigue. People with multiple sclerosis will benefit from how yoga helps build strength, reduce stiffness, improve memory and balance (speaking of balance, I’m always critiquing myself and I couldn’t help but notice in the video when our eyes are closed I am swaying slightly while Niki is sitting perfectly still; I am very frustrated by my swaying and I’m hoping if I practice I can soon sit as still as Niki!) Anyway, I’m hard pressed to think of a single person who wouldn’t benefit from incorporating yoga into their lives.
Relaxation Breathing Techniques are Fundamental to Practicing Yoga Correctly
As I have recently learned, you can’t just go through the motions in yoga. Proper breathing is fundamental to getting the desired results with this form of exercise.
Most people (myself included!) breathe very short, shallow breaths—the kind that comes from your chest. But, for you to really improve your lung function and breathe properly you need to practice taking deep, whole breaths through your nose. When you practice deep whole breathing your diaphragm makes your lungs move and actually pulls your lungs down, expanding your lungs and circulating oxygen throughout your whole lung. Taking deep breaths helps your lungs go from 98 percent saturation of oxygen to 100 percent saturation of oxygen. Proper deep breathing is not something that comes naturally though, because it requires work and it does take practice. If you want to improve your lung capacity, you have to work and train your lungs like you would train any other body part. In other words, you have to overload your lungs to improve their performance.
Yoga-Type Relaxation Breathing Techniques Can Improve Cardiovascular Function
Believe it or not, the relaxation breathing techniques that are a core component of yoga and that improve lung capacity also improve cardiovascular fitness. This is because the heart, lungs, and circulatory systems work in synergy to bring oxygen to all parts of your body. So, even though yoga is a not a form of aerobic exercise, yoga and the deep breathing exercises fundamental to yoga can still help improve lung capacity and cardiovascular fitness (without straining your joints I might add!)
Yoga-Type Relaxation Breathing Techniques Can Help Flush Your Body of Toxins
Another benefit of yoga type relaxation breathing techniques is that it helps improve the drainage of your lymphatic system, which removes toxins from your body. Ridding your body of accumulated toxins will improve your energy level, immune system, and overall health. Your skin will become clearer and your bowels will become more regular. You’ll also decrease inflammation and improve symptoms of inflammatory conditions.
Relaxation Breathing Techniques will Leave You Feeling Calm Yet Energized All At Once
The deep nasal breathing Niki will instruct you how to do in the video above releases stored nitric oxide, which opens up sluggish arteries, gets your blood moving and greatly improves circulation. You’ll feel energized and yet relaxed all at the same time. It’s almost like a “yoga high”…but you have to experience it to fully appreciate it.
Niki is an excellent instructor and if you take the time to listen to the video and practice what she teaches you will learn incredible breathing relaxation techniques for stress management, improved health and improved cardiovascular function. You can then incorporate these relaxation breathing techniques into your yoga workout in addition to doing them for a few minutes first thing in the morning and also in the evening before bed. If you are like me and can’t spare 5 minutes first thing in the morning try multi-tasking by deep breathing in the car (just keep your eyes open!) or even sitting at the computer. You can even do some deep breathing when the kids start screaming and racing around in circles. It doesn’t matter when or where you do them…just do them 😉