Energizing Yoga Breathing Techniques
by Darshan Singh Khalsa

Energizing Yoga Breathing Techniques by Darshan Singh Khalsa
Yoga is a superb stress management tool and a means of achieving personal excellence. Yoga is an ancient system of exercise that includes thousands of physical and mental exercises designed to strengthen and balance the body, rejuvenate the nervous system and concentrate the mind. Kundalini Yoga, the yoga of awareness, is practiced for no more than three minutes at a time, usually followed by a short relaxation. Each Kundalini Yoga exercise typically has posture, breathing, mantra and movement; for best results, daily practice of yoga is recommended. It’s great way to start your day.

Begin by tuning in to the wisdom within you to guide you through each session of yoga exercise. Sit cross-legged with a straight spine, eyes closed, feet bare, hands with palms together in a prayer position in front of the chest. Hands are pressed against the center of the chest, stilling the mind. Inhale deep through the nose and use the full breath to chant aloud: Ong Namo Guroo Dayv Namo. Then inhale deep and repeat this chant. Then inhale deep once more and again repeat this chant. Now you can begin to practice yoga.

You can relax yourself, or energize yourself, whenever you want, simply by changing your breath pattern. By changing your breathing pattern, you can change your state of mind. This is one of the most basic techniques that yogis use to control and improve their lives. A person has one of two problems in life: either they don't have enough energy to do what they want, or they have too much energy and don't know what to do with it. Five minutes of long deep breathing through one or other nostril is all you need to do to change your energy at will. Long deep breathing is always done through the nose, not the mouth.

Sit with a straight spine and check your breathing right now. Which nostril are you breathing out of right now? Usually one nostril is clogged up so that you are mainly breathing out of one nostril. Two and a half hours from now, if you check again, you will find that your body has switched nostrils. The body does this automatically to keep your metabolism balanced. Left nostril breathing lowers the body temperature, lowers the blood pressure and soothes the emotions. Right nostril breathing raises the body temperature, raises the blood pressure and energizes you. By cycling the breathing from one nostril to the other every two and a half hours, the body keeps the metabolism cycling like a thermostat. But this cycle does not necessarily match the ordinary 8-hour workday, your eating schedule, the demands of your family or your social calendar. Sometimes, you need a different energy level than whatever you may be feeling at the time.

If you are nervous, upset, uptight or stressed out and you want to relax, sit up straight, close off the right nostril and take 26 long deep breaths through the left nostril. On the inhale, fill the stomach with air first, then the lungs from bottom to top. You can use the thumb to close off the right nostril while you practice this breathing. Once the lungs are full, pull the navel in toward the spine to push the air out on the exhale.

Use the mantra "Sat Naam" (meaning "truth is my identity" or more simply "Truth") with the breath: Mentally create the sound "Sat" (rhymes with but) on the inhale and mentally create the sound "Naam" (rhymes with mom) on the exhale. After 26 long deep breaths, relax. This breathing exercise will take approximately 5 minutes to complete. Now sit quietly and experience how you feel. Then go about your business.

On the other hand, if you have low energy, or you are feeling sluggish or depressed, do the same breathing exercise as above but close off the left nostril using the left hand and take 26 long deep breaths through the right nostril. This will raise your energy level and stimulate your physical energy, charge you up with vitality, wake you up and give you the energy you need to go about your business. Suppose you have some important work to accomplish under a tight deadline, but you are feeling tired, worn out and uninspired. 26 long deep breaths through the right nostril will charge you up with physical vitality and you will have the energy and momentum to get the work done.These two simple yoga techniques give you the ability to relax at will, or energize whenever you need to. Yogic Long Deep Breathing can change your destiny, because it puts your energy under your conscious control.

Darshan Singh Khalsa is author of the book “Yoga Secrets for Business Success” (The Lyons Press; 2002; $19.95). He’s a business innovation consultant and certified Kundalini Yoga teacher. For more info on his book and consulting services, please visit: www.transitionstressmanage.com, call 602-229-1032 or email dkhalsa@transitionstressmanage.com.