Breathing exercises like Pranayama are known to benefit not just physical health but also mental wellness. While it seems like an easy breathing exercise, it needs to be done in the correct way and form to reap optimum benefits over a period of time.

Explaining the same in detail, yoga trainer Juhi Kapoor took to Instagram and said, “Learn and practice breathing techniques and improve holistic health.”

How does breathing practices like Pranayama help?

According to Kapoor, it helps improve immunity, betters lung capacity, reduces stress levels, lowers anxiety, helps in better organ function, improves hormonal balance, regulates blood pressure, and boosts metabolism, which enhances longevity.

Agreed Nishtha Bijlani, a yoga expert and wellness counsellor, and said that Pranayama has a “tranquilising effect on the mind. It promotes better sleep and slows down thoughts”. Concurring, yoga coach Priyamvada M said that the practice also helps balance sympathetic and parasympathetic system, and improves blood purification.

Method

*Get in a comfortable seated position on a mat or chair.
*Use your thumbs to close the opening of the ears.
*Spread the rest of the four fingers across your face to make the Shanmukhi Mudra (block your ears by pressing your thumbs against the tragus. Close the eyes with your forefingers. Block the nose (only partially) with the help of your middle finger. Place the little and ring finger on your upper and lower lips)
*Close your eyes, take a deep breath and release the ‘hmmm’ sound through pressed lips. Do this for 5-10 rounds.

What are the common mistakes while doing Anulom Vilom or alternative nostril breathing Pranayama?

Using all the fingers

*Use only Gyan mudra (The left hand side’s index finger should touch the tip of the thumb of the left hand) and Vishnu mudra (Bend the index and middle finger with only the ring, little finger and thumb opened).

Elbows up and lifted.

*Keep the elbow comfortably pointing towards the floor. If arm hurts, take the support of the other hand.

Moving the whole body.

*Only move the belly.

Pressing the nose too hard.

*Only a gentle press of fingers on the nose.

How to do correctly?

Keep the thumb on your right nostril. With this nostril covered, close your eyes and exhale fully and slowly through your left nostril. Once you’ve exhaled completely, release your right nostril and put your ring finger on the left nostril. Breathe in deeply and slowly from the right side. Repeat for as many rounds as possible.

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