I must have been short of breath when I suggested this topic…..something that happens to me a lot. I am an asthmatic and do not stir out of the house without my inhalers or out of the city without packing my nebuliser.
I have had asthma since 7 or so and I have had virulent attacks at least five times with hospitalisation. We take our breath for granted until it starts reminding us that it keeps us going.
Pranayama is an important part of Hindu medicine, treatment for illnesses, thought and philosophy. Pranayama (Sanskrit: प्राणायाम prāṇāyāma) means “extension of the prana or breath” or more accurately, “extension of the life force”. Life begins with the first breath that a child takes when it comes out of the womb. The last breath can be a rattling one or a quiet cessation of intake and outlet of breath. This intake and breathing out is called Anulom Vilom . It is the Alternate Nostril Breathing, one of the most effective breathing exercises that purifies the mind and body. It is very useful in releasing stress and anxiety and can be performed by people of all ages. This breathing exercise is most effective when practiced in a peaceful place, like an open window, a garden with plenty of greenery, roof top and where there is a lot of oxygen. You don’t really need a teacher to learn this technique.
To perform Anulom Vilom,
- First close your eyes, relax all your muscles for a few breath counts, say 5.
- Then close your right nostril with the thumb and breathe in deep from the left nostril.
- Now open the right nostril and simultaneously close the left nostril with little finger.
- Breathe out from the right nostril and breathe in from it.
- Close the right nostril and open and breathe out from the left nostril.
- Do this alternate left and right breathing in and out for 10 counts.
The benefits can be seen quite soon. This breathing helps the heart, reduces high BP, helps to clear heart blockage, sinus congestion is reduced, fights depression, anxiety, migraine pain, asthma and allergies. It is used by actors, (I have) to face panic attacks and
Make sure that you breathe into the lungs and not through the stomach as no organ in
the stomach absorbs oxygen. Do not hurry and do it at a measured pace. Rest in between
if you find the breathing becoming laborious.
The best time to practice this breathing exercise is early in the morning before having breakfast. You can also practice it after five hours after eating. This will allow the food that is consumed to get digested.
This breathing exercise has got nothing to do with religion.
However for me, the interpretation of the first breath and the last is associated with Ganesha, the elephant God, remover of obstacles and promoter of wellness and knowledge. From the first moment of birth, learning starts and many obstacles have to be crossed in a life span.
The last breath for me is Hanuman, the monkey messenger and faithful associate of Lord Rama. Hanuman is the embodiment of breath or wind with all its power to do good—he was able to leap across the ocean to reach Lanka where the wicked Ravana had imprisoned Sita, Rama’s wife after kidnapping her. Winds can also be destructive and Hanuman used his power to burn down the evil city of Lanka!
So Ganesha generates life and Hanuman helps you until the last breath. In our system of worship we begin with Ganesha and end with Hanuman!!
Welcome to the Friday Loose Bloggers Consortium where Akanksha, Anu, Ashok, Conrad, Delirious, Gaelikaa, Grannymar, Magpie11, Nema, Noor, Ordinary Joe, Paul, Maria the Silver Fox, Rummuser , Will Knott, and I write on the same topic. Please do visit the linked blogs to get seventeen different flavours of the same topic.