Yoga Breathing Techniques and their effect on our Health

                                   breathing breathe
There are a huge number of amazing benefits associated with yoga breathing, I will go through some of the most important ones. It has been proven that yoga & yoga breathing is extremely beneficial to our helth, it can lower blood pressure, help reduce the rick of heart disease and also lowers anxiety & stress! There are a number of techniques that we practice, which include 3 phase breathing, alternate nostril breathing, Ujaii breathing, Agni Sari and Kapalabhati. 3 phase breathing is most important to get right, this is a technique that uses the lower lobes of the lungs, diaphragm and the chest area to deepen our intake of oxygen and to slow down our breath. Alternate nostril breathing or Nadi Shodhana ultimately brings about a balance or stimulation and relaxation. Ujaii breathing, in and out through the nostrils, also know as Fire breath is used to warm up the body. Agni Sari requires pushing the naval against the spine as many times as possible. It is a cleansing practice that heats up the body and stimulates the internal organs, thereby helping to tone the stomach muscles and eliminate digestive problems. Kapalabhati is a traditional internal cleansing breath.
These breathing techniques have enormous benefits for all of us, one huge benefit is increasing our lung capacity and our overall fitness by just breathing properly and using all of our lung capacity, instead of only a third of it, which most of us do. This also has the added benefit of eliminating waste & toxins from the lower lobes of our lungs. This can sometimes lead to asthma or bronchitis.
Another fantastic immediate benefit is calming our nervous system and our body, which in turn calms our mind. This is so beneficial in times of stress or anxiousness, going to a quiet space and taking a few long deep steady breaths is very calming on the body and mind.
Yoga breathing also helps in food digestion by helping to break the food down and convert it to energy so we need to consume less food!
If you have difficulty going to sleep at night and you practice the 3 phases breathing for a few minutes, you will find that you drift off to sleep with no trouble at all!!
Yoga breathing is very important while practicing the postures not only to help come into and out of our postures but also putting pressure on and stimulating the endocrine system. The pranayama also helps to prepare us for relaxation and meditation.
So, you now have an idea of some of the most important pranayama (breathing techniques) involved with yoga practice and it is clear to see how beneficial they are and how they can be brought into our everyday lives, effecting our health and well being in an extremely positive way :-)

Nutrition to increase our Health & Vitality

Nutrition is not about counting calories or restring & limiting food intake, instead it’s more about nourishing our bodies and feeding ourselves the correct fuel so that we have optimum energy, health and vitality. In yoga, we say it is to increase our lifeforce. This comes by eating a balanced diet containing foods high in lifeforce or foods of good quality, really fresh, containing high amounts of nutrients and closer to nature, more natural & wholesome. A diet which delivers optimal amounts of nutrients, is a diet which creates health & vitality, supplying your system with ample energy, physical strength, strong digestion, effortless elimination and clear mental focus. Our diet also determines our biological age as opposed to our chronological age, for example the rate at which our body heals, skin elasticity etc, we all probably know a 70 year old that doesn’t look their age and has plenty of energy and a 30 year old that looks 10 years older, is always complaining about ailments and has no energy…
Research has shown that eating whole foods bring the body into a natural state of balance and allows more energy to be released, while eating junk food leads to the possibility of being overfed but undernourished.  
An example of this is an experiment that was done on rats, generally speaking they will fairly much eat anything. So there were two different groups of rats on diets that contained the same amount of calories but one group were on a “whole food” diet & the other were on a more mixed diet, i.e. tea & sandwiches. Over a period of time they found that the rats on the “whole food” diet had beautiful glossy, sleek coats & were in good condition. Whereas the other group got flabby and overweight & didn’t look very nice. Another thing they found was that they were quiet aggressive.
As we can see, the food we eat plays a very important role in how we feel & look. As the saying goes, “we are what we eat”! This is true down to every cell in our body, protein makes up our muscles, hair & skin. A little analogy that I like to refer to is “God’s Pharmacy”, which gives the examples of how a sliced carrot looks like a human eye and it greatly enhances blood flow to the eyes, a tomato has 4 chambers like a heart and is loaded with lycopine, that is pure heart & blood food, beans are kidney shaped and they help heal and maintain kidney function. 
So, for truely healthy food digestion there must be a surplus of anti-oxidants, which constantly neutralise the damaging effects of free radicles, plenty of fiber and food enzymes and a rich supply of living vibrant energy in the food itself. Raw foods are high in life force and enzymes and have a cleansing effect on the bloodstream. They also have a positive affect on our mental health.
 
Start by:
  • Introducing more raw fruit & vegetables,
  • Buying organic when possible, as less chemicles would have been used like pecticides etc,
  • Buying local Irish produce when possible as these would be fresher,
  • Also keeping our meals simple.
Take a look at your shopping and make sure you know exactly what is in your food. Some products I look at, I cant even read the ingredients, so if I dont understand what is in it, its likely that its not good for me. We have all seen recently, some frozen produts that even contained ingredients that weren’t listed…who would have thought that horse meat would be in your beef burger…Personally, I feel things have gotten to complicated with our food, too many additives and chemicles to make it last longer on the shelves. Too many fast food restaurants & junk food with numerous E numbers. We dont even know yet the full extent of the damage these foods are doing to us. As we have seen already a huge rise in obesity and diabetis in adults & children, so who knows what else will crop up.
The easiest thing we call all do is to increase your intake of raw foods and cut down on processed foods. This will make a big difference almost immediatly to our energy levels, our skin and our mood… Give it a go!

Go with the Flow…

Yoga and some of the amazing health benefits!

Yoga is fast becoming one of the most popular forms of exercise, thanks to many celebrities and athletes citing the benefits that they feel from regular practice. In many ways it’s easy to understand why yoga is regularly advised by doctors for help with anxiety and stress relief. Yoga teaches calmness, a relaxed mind, deep breathing and a focus on inner peace, bringing together physical and mental disciplines to achieve peacefulness of body and mind, helping you relax and to manage stress and anxiety. Yoga teaches that controlling your breathing can help you control your body and quiet your mind. The combination of the breathing techniques, postures, relaxation and meditation all work together to bring the body into a state of harmony, focus and energy.

For those that are into running, walking, biking or any other action sport, yoga will improve flexibility, core strength and balance. This will help you recover faster after workouts, open up tight areas that may hinder performance, improve a range of motions and develop mental focus and concentration.

There are a number of fantastic health benefits associated with yoga including improved blood circulation resulting in healthier organs, skin and brain. Yoga significantly reduces the risk of heart disease. It lowers stress levels and can help battle depression.

Yoga brings elasticity to the spine and strengthens the muscles in the back, preventing back pain. Research has also shown that patients fighting or recovering from cancer can benefit by gaining strength, a rise in red blood cells and less nausea during chemotherapy.

Here comes the science bit…Yoga not only makes you more supple and tones up your body but also stimulates all the glands in our Endocrine System. The Endocrine system is made up of seven main centers or glands that energy in our body flows through. All the glands are connected to the spine and the energy runs up and down the spine. Blocked energy in any of the glands can often lead to illness, each of the yoga postures that we practice stimulates a different gland, we practice the postures in a specific sequence, in which the energy flows through the glands.

No one is on the same journey or has the same body so we all need to do the best we can without comparing or judging. There are modifications for every yoga posture so that everyone can feel the amazing benefits no matter their age or fitness level!