Learn How To Sleep Well With Yoga Breathing;
This article will give information which will help you to reduce tension and help you to sleep properly. The yoga breath is an integral part of spiritual healing. By doing yoga breathing, you will take in the prana which will raise your vitality. This vital force not only helps your own health – by practicing the yoga breath regularly, you will have more energy to help other people heal themselves.
The most important techniques mentioned here are age-old practices derived from yoga teachings.
The health benefits of yoga breathing are numerous. A calmer brain, better circulation, better concentration, being more focussed, and a feeling of well being will all come with doing a simple yoga breathing practice each week.
The most basic of the breathing exercises are the alternate nostril breath and the OM chant. They are both easy to perform. Both are great oxygenators of the blood. Their good and healthful effects on the nervous system are felt almost right away.
Recommendation: Start with just one of these exercises below, either the Alternate Nostril Breath, or the OM chant practice.
You could safely add the Breath Counting Exercise No. 4, done in bed at night, to either exercise No.1 or 2. But don’t overdo things. It is better to start with a moderate amount.
1) Alternate Nostril Breathing:
This can be done in bed at night if you haven’t managed to practice earlier in the day. It calms and soothes the brain and regulates the breathing, all of which help to relax the body and calm the nerves.
Ideally, you will choose the same time each day to perform the exercise so that you get the maximum benefits of a regular practice. Just before bed is good, although in time, you might like to add it to an earlier yoga practice which includes some asanas.
Sit in whatever position you find comfortable.
Take a slow, deep inhalation. Close the eyes and slowly breath out.
Put the right hand middle finger and index finger on the brow between the eyebrows. Keep these fingers on the brow while you perform the alternate nostril breathing exercise. Place the thumb over the right nostril and close it. Breath in slowly through the left nostril. Hold the breath while you lift the thumb off the right nostril. Put the 4th finger over the left nostril and close it. Exhale slowly and evenly through the right nostril.
Repeat the procedure, breathing in through the open right nostril. Hold, block off the right nostril with thumb, release the 4th finger from the left nostril, and exhale through the left.
This constitutes one round. Continue by breathing in again through the open left nostril. Hold breath while you release the right thumb, breathe out through the right, draw in the breath through the right. Follow the instructions for closing off each nostril as indicated above and continue until you have completed 3 full rounds.
After 3 full rounds, take the hand down from the brow and place on the right knee. Take 3 full, slow breaths as you sit there with your eyes still closed. Repeat the full exercise, remembering to take the breaths with hands on knees at the end of each cycle of 3 rounds.
Do for around 5 minutes to start, and build up to around 10 minutes.
2) OM Chanting:
This is very beneficial for the mind, body and soul. It can be seen to aid spiritual development by the fact that one’s tolerance levels are improved, for a start.
It is an excellent practice to add to your daily routine of exercises, or it can be done at any time of the day to benefit your health and sense of well-being.
OM Chanting can even be done in the car while you are waiting in traffic. It is a big help in avoiding stress in such situations. Of course, you will do this exercise with your eyes open if you do it in the car. But ideally this is best done in seated position, after your other yoga practice, with your eyes closed.
Never do this exercise while lying down, as the prone position means pressure is put on the larynx it you speak. The voice-box is hurt if you lie down to chant or speak
So- important to be upright in a seated position for benefits.
Simply take in a deep, slow breath and say OM as you breathe out. Try to regulate the breath so that it comes out slowly and so that the sound of OM is emitted in one nice, evenly toned, steady volumed sound.
When you have exhaled completely, fill the lungs with another breath and continue to slowly exhale as you chant OM.
Make your OM chant last as long as you can while you sing out the purest, most even note you can sustain.
This exercise is very good for the nervous system. After a few days or weeks of regular practice, you will notice that the tone of your voice improves and that the sound is steadier and easier to regulate. You will notice, too, that the volume of breath your lungs are capable of taking will expand.
This is the ACE exercise of all yoga teachings in my opinion. No wonder that it is the chant of Buddhism and the favoured chant of many meditation teachers.The Christian AMEN is a little similar but it doesn’t have the same vitality, when chanted repeatedly, as the OM chant. This is mainly because OM has just one syllable, whereas AMEN has two. The vibration from the OM sound vibrates through the head, down the spine and through the entire body. It calms the brain, feeds more blood to eyes, ears and nose, causes a toning up of the nervous system, and encourages the natural flow of PRANA, or CHI, throughout the body. This effect helps to remove toxins, especially from the ears, nose, throat and brain. You could add this to the Alternate Nostril Breath.
Recovered smokers would do well to practice OM chanting on a regular basis, as it helps to restore and strengthen the lungs and improve the voice as well as calm the nerves.
(Note – I would seriously advise anyone who is still addicted to alocohol or drugs of any kind to postpone the practice of OM chanting until they have ceased taking their drugs for good.)
This is an excellent exercise for singers and for people who do a lot of public speaking, as well as those who simply want a good night’s sleep.
3) Group OM Chanting:
This is a unifying and powerful healing practice. Everyone sits, eyes closed, chanting OM. It doesn’t matter what note you strike. Everyone strikes the note they feel is comfortable for them and joins in the chorus.When the first has finished the OM chant in their own time, they simply take another breath and continue with another OM round, no matter whether the others have finished their OM breath or not. This keeps a continuous vibration of OM which is very soothing and healing to the nervous system. Of course, eventually you will all arrive at a moment when you are all inhaling together, but the object is for everyone to chant in their own time, withdrawing when necessary to take a breath, and then adding to the resonance again by chanting OM. You will find, after 10 minutes of practice, that the sound has become more harmonious, with the chanters naturally favouring of 3rds 5ths and octaves of their own accord. This, of course, is not the object, but just occurs naturally. The idea is to be uninhibited and make whatever note you are capable of holdng for the length of the breath.
4) Silent Breath Counting:
This exercise is taken from Yoga Nidra, or the Yoga of Sleep as taught by Satyananda. Yoga Nidra is preferably done on the floor as part of a daily practice. But this short version can be done in bed.
The OM chant is used here to calm the mind, but it is said silently to oneself. (Remember- no vocal sound while you are lying down, as this hurts the voice-box)
The good effects still prevail even though the OM sound is said silently to yourself, without vocalization.
Close the eyes. Breathe in slowly and deeply, counting mentally ONE…… as you breathe in. Hold briefly, then, as you breathe out, mentally say OM…… slowly to yourself.
Breathe in, mentally saying TWO…… to yourself. Hold. Breathe out slowly mentally saying OM…… to yourself.
Breathe in, mentally saying THREE……etc.
Continue up to TEN breaths.
This oxygenates the blood whilst slowing the mind down. You can’t possibly be considering other thoughts while all you concentration is on the breath, and counting, and silently chanting OM.
5) Prana Absorption Excercise – Hands from TUMMY TO BROW with Co-ordinated Breathing:
This exercise, if done daily, will help aid sleep. It is also a very good healing excercise. It is powerful simply done as an energy enhancer and to help destress the body and mind.
It can be done in seated position, or lying prone on the floor in Savasana. Close the eyes.
Inhale, pressing the fingers firmly into the solar plexus in the middle of the stomach. Take a deep, slow breath, filling the lungs completely with air. Imagine the bright yellow energy from the sun filling the solar plexus and feeding the nervous system.
Hold the breath briefly before you exhale as you then place the hands onto the brow at the eyebrow centre. Slowly exhale, imagining the energy from your hands soothing your brain. Repeat until you have done 10 breaths.
The exercise is very beneficial in balancing the nervous system and creating harmony between the chakra centres in the eyebrow centre and the solar plexus centre. For concentrated healing on one area of the body, do 10 rounds as outlined above. Then do another 10 rounds, breathing in with hands on the solar plexus, but put the hands on the part of your body which needs healing as you breath out each time. Imagine the healing force in your hands going into the area, helping to create a whole and perfect condition.
The simple tummy-to-brow- excercise is good for building up enery, or PRANA n the body if you are about to do spiritual healing to help somebody else. Do directly before you help another person. It helps focus the mind as well as improve vitality.