Oh babes, you’re SO going to DIG this week’s yoga video.
I usually shy away from including pranayama (breath work) in my videos, but not this time. We’re going full force, breathe that shit out, and feel so damn good while we do it.
If you’re familiar with yogic breath work, then you know this + a stress relief sequence is the perfect combination. Andddd, I’m guessing you’re now so stoked to be here and unroll that mat. And conversely, if you’re unfamiliar with pranayama, then you’re in for a special treat. We will use the power of our own breath + intentional movements to create the ultimate release – stress, anxiety, tension, fear and so much more.
To dig in a bit deeper & be more specific about this pranayama thing, I’ll list the two variations we’ll practice + the general benefits of breath work.
Let’s Dive In!
Benefits of Pranayama:
- Reduced anxiety and depression
- Lower/stabilized blood pressure
- Increased energy levels
- Muscle relaxation
- Decreased feelings of stress and overwhelm
And the two styles we’ll practice are:
….. or alternate nostril breathing.
This breath work technique is one of my absolute favorites to practice as it taps into the feminine aspect of our being – the cooling, gentle, calm and nurturing side of who we are. It’s wonderful to practice at the beginning of a yoga practice, to settle into a meditation, or at times of anxiety and stress.
Additionally, check out more of the benefits below (if I haven’t convinced you already)!
- Improves our ability to focus the mind
- Supports our lungs and respiratory functions
- Restores balance in the left and right hemispheres of the brain, and clears the energetic channels
- Rejuvenates the nervous system
- Removes toxins
- Settles stress
A few must-knows to perform it correctly & enjoyably.
- Bring the right hand up towards the nose and fold the pointer and middle finger down.
- Play with placing the thumb on the right nostril & the ring finger on the left nostril.
- To begin, place the right thumb on the right nostril.
- Inhale through the left nostril (always start on the left, the feminine side).
- Release thumb and close left nostril with ring finger.
- Exhale through the right nostril.
- Inhale back through the right nostril, release left nostril, close off the right nostril with thumb.
- Exhale through the left nostril (always end on the left side too).
The breath continues this pattern for the length of the practice.
Don’t worry, I’ll talk us through it in the video, so no need to memorize all that shiz right meow!
….. or Simhasana
Lion’s breath is a wonderful practice to increase prana (life force energy), energize and awaken, open the throat chakra and boost confidence. It can be practiced at the beginning of your day, at the beginning of a yoga practice, or sprinkled throughout the practice.
A few more must-know benefits:
- Relieves tension and tightness, while improving circulation
- Stretches the muscles in the face, neck and throat
- Creates heat in the body to start or sustain your yoga practice
- Allows us to let our inhibitions go, feel so silly and connect back to our truth all at the same time.
For this practice, we’ll be doing lion’s breath while in downward facing dog, but I will demo it out beforehand too (don’t you’ worry babes).
Essentially, it’s easy as anything, but here’s how it will work.
- While in downward facing dog, we’ll take a BIG inhale breath through the nostrils.
- On the exhale, we’ll open the mouth, stick the tongue out long, stretch the face, open the eyeballs wide and release.
That’s it babe, so simple and silly!
Okay, we’ve done a lot of small talk.
Let’s unroll those yoga mats, get super comfortable (this is stress relief yoga), and make time + space to relax and store.