YOGA FOR DEEPENING OUR BREATH: A Fourth Chakra Flow
Updated: Sep 6, 2019
Have you ever had that feeling of needing to take a deep breath all of a sudden? It sometimes happens out of nowhere. We might feel acutely aware of needing to breath deeply. What's happening at this time? Usually, we have been breathing quite shallow and a signal gets sent to our brain to take a BIG BREATH. Let out some of that old carbon dioxide and get some fresh oxygen in our system! Remember, our breath is connected to our Fourth Chakra.
Our Fourth Chakra, our Heart Chakra, is responsible for our lungs, heart and breath. Makes sense as our Heart Chakra is in the center of our lungs! If you need a recap on the Heart Chakra, check out my blog post that goes into more detail about it here...
Let's go back to that thought of the times when we need to take a deeper breath. Think of it as the same as when we have the urge to take a deep stretch. During a deep breath, our lungs are essentially "stretching" and filling with air. Just like stretching our other muscles to release stuck energy or tightness, deep breathing opens the lungs and releases stuck energy, Deep breathing increases our oxygen in our blood stream which is transported to all of our cells throughout our body. So, think of a deep breath as a little burst of energy for our Fourth Chakra that essentially gets sent through our ENTIRE body!
Anger, irritability, anxiety, stress, depression (just to name a few!) can lead to shallow breathing, an unbalanced Heart Chakra, and even tightness or heaviness in the chest.
To help open our Heart Chakras and find a deeper breath, there are some postures and a breathing technique that I have listed below! Scroll down and check them out!
Our breathing technique this week is called, Nadi Shodhana, or Alternate Nostril Breathing. This type of breathing CALMS OUR MIND, LOWERS OUR HEART RATE and it PURIFIES THE ENERGY IN OUR BODY. It CLEANSES OUR LUNGS! During this technique, think about sending a purified breath throughout your system and all of the good it can do for us! As you get into the groove of this breath, or pranayama, it does get easier. Aim for 5-10 rounds of this breath. See how you feel afterwards!
Find a comfortable seat on the floor or in a chair. Sit up nice and tall. Head over your heart. Close your eyes. Find a "hang loose" sign with your right hand. The left hand is ok if you are left-handed! Just reverse the technique! Extend your thumb and pinkie finger of the right hand. Tuck your other fingers down. Gently close your right nostril with your right thumb as you breath in through the left nostril. Pause, holding the breath. Switch, gently closing your left nostril with your pinkie finger, release your thumb and exhale out the right nostril. Inhale through the right nostril as the pinkie still closes the left nostril. Switch. Plug the right nostril and release the left nostril, as you exhale out the left side. Inhalations and exhalations should be equal in length. Keep the inhales and exhales smooth, unforced, and even.
SUPPORTED FISH POSE
This posture is great if you want to connect with your breath, in a very relaxing posture. Take a bolster or you can stack two pillows on top of one another and place the short edge right against your tailbone. Slowly roll down your spine along the pillows or bolster, lengthwise. Your head should still be resting on the cushion you are using. If it is not, grab another pillow! This posture allows a gentle opening of our Heart Chakra/Heart Center. Relax your shoulders down underneath you. Relax your face. Allow the hands to gently rest on your belly. Close your eyes. I encourage you to stay here for at least a few minutes, breathing deeply and relaxing.
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Take a comfortable seat on the floor, cross-legged, or on a chair. This posture can also be done standing if you have more energy! Root down through your First Chakra, your tailbone and sitz bones. Sit up tall. Shoulders drop down away from the ears. Let your hands swim behind your finding a clasp. If this is too much, you could also grab either elbow behind you. As you breath, start to lift the chest. Our clasped hands or elbows stay close to our bodies, but they draw downward. Do not lift them out/away from the body. Aim for 5 full breaths here, opening our Heart Chakra and breathing deeply.
After your practice, pause and notice how you feel! You might be surprised that you feel calmer, you feel less anxious, and you can take deeper breaths easily. Practice and consistency are key! Over time, it will become easier to connect with our breath, especially at times when we need it most!