Anti Aging Yoga (Step 2)
With International Yoga & Wellness Icon Dr. Kamal
Have you ever noticed people with stress look older than their biological age?
In this busy world, Life is rushing, rushing, and always rushing. This causes immense stress imbalance and disharmony mentally & physically. Stress causes not only mental but also physical exhaustion. Stress depletes energy, vitality and even contributes to faster aging. Stress creates an imbalance that disturbs the function of the glands that produce hormones.
In this present world, stress is inevitable. We stress our bodies and organs by eating unhealthy foods, unhealthy sleeping habits, overthinking/negative thinking/worry about our past and fear our future. All this has a profound effect on your heart, lungs, stomach, brain, and nervous system and gradually turns into a Disease. Doing regular yoga and changing eating habits would drastically increase health in the mind, muscle, nerves, and brain. Here I present to you some tools to Destress. Yogic breathing is one of the powerful mind and nerve tonic. Yogic breathing techniques release muscle stress, and breathing also helps balance the brain and nervous system. The breathing techniques have been scientifically proven to improve lung capacity, blood circulation, and vitality.
‘Breath is the Primary Fuel for your Energy and Vitality’
We are all living because of breathing, but most people don’t breathe properly. Many people breathe very shallowly, unevenly, irregularly, stressing the heart and lungs that drains the vitality. You are too busy to even notice that! In times of dealing with your deadlines, juggling competing demands, and dealing with pressure at work – firstly the breath is very shallow and secondly, your inhalation is more than the exhalation and that is suicidal!
Proper breathing is the primary fuel for your mind and body. There is no food or supplements in the world that can do for you what proper breathing can do.
The length of life depends on the vitality in the cells. It is not just yogic it is scientific! Proper breathing stores a greater amount of oxygen in your cells making your cells live longer. Researchers believe that lack of oxygen seems to play a major role in causing cells to become malignant or cancerous. Proper breathing not only oxygenates your cells, but it also drains the lymphatic washing toxins out of your bloodstream making your blood rich and healthy.
The blood cells depend upon the lymphatic system as the only way to drain off the large toxic materials and excess fluid that restrict the amount of oxygen. Recent studies show that deep diaphragmatic breathing activates the lymphatic system. Diaphragmatic breathing works like a vacuum sucking out all the toxins from your bloodstream.
Learn to perfect the way you breathe and experience the power of breathing. Take this practice, as a challenge and practice the techniques mentioned below, every day for 10 days without a break. I am sure you will stick to this practice because you will experience increased mental and physical strength; you will also increase vigor and vitality.
Perfect The Way You Breathe
I am not actually trying to teach anything new but bringing you back to the natural breathing that many have forgotten!
The Diaphragmatic (Abdomen) Breathing
The solution lies in attending to the way you breathe. Change the way you breathe. Cultivate the habit of breathing deeply from the diaphragm. Once you cultivate the habit of breathing from the diaphragm, you will find yourself energetic, refreshing, and relaxing. The diaphragm is the main muscle responsible for respiration. It’s attached to the lumbar vertebrae (lower back), the tip of the breastbone, and the ribs, and separates the chest cavity from the abdominal cavity. Diaphragmatic breathing helps calm and soothe the nervous system. It helps correct high and low blood pressure and supply energy, blood, and oxygen to the brain.
3 ways to Improve your Lung Capacity, Relieve Stress, Asthma, and Sinuses :
1. The first best way to master diaphragmatic breathing is to lie down on the abdomen in a pose called Makarasana (Crocodile Pose) – 5-8 mins.
2. The second best way to master diaphragmatic breathing is to lie down in a pose called Shavasana (Corpse Pose) with a sandbag or a thick blanket on the abdomen – 5-8mins.
3. The third way is by sitting in a pose called Sukhasana (Simply Cross-legged Pose) or by sitting on a chair – 5- 8mins.
1) Crocodile pose (Makarasana): Increases lung capacity. Many people breathe very shallowly because they were never trained to exercise the diaphragmatic muscles that are just below your ribs. Place a mat or a blanket on the hard surface floor and lie down on your stomach. Keep your legs apart with the heel turned inwards and toes pointing out. Rest your inner thighs, stomach, and your lower chest on the floor. Keep your upper chest slightly off the floor. Hold your upper arm with your palms, placing fingers gently on your hands. Now place your head on the arms with your forehead resting on your arms. Makes sure you relax your shoulders down and your fingers gently resting on the biceps. Now begin the practice, as you inhale feel, as if your breath is reaching the lower abdomen, and as you exhale feel as if your abdomen is sinking into the floor. Stay in this pose, breathing deeply and gently for at least 5 to 8 mins. Do not jerk your breath. Do not force your breath. Breathe to your capacity. In the beginning, your breathing may be too shallow or weak. You will improve your capacity for breathing as you practice regularly.
Benefits: Breathing in this pose not only helps strengthen your diaphragmatic muscles (the muscle that is responsible for respiration) but also helps relieve lower back pain and release stress and tension. It is an excellent pose for those suffering from menstrual cramps and pains. It helps improves blood circulation to the entire pelvis, uterus, and helps normalize the menstrual cycle, and strengthens the internal organs. It is also an excellent pose for men as it helps improve blood circulation to the bladder and testis (that produces sperm and male sex hormones) and helps stimulates the prostate gland.
2) Corpse pose (Shavasana) – is the most remarkable pose to perfect your breathing practice. Lie down on your back with your legs straight and slightly apart than your hip-width distance. Drop your toes to the sides and adjust your buttocks to your comfort and relax them completely. Gently pull your chin towards the chest and drop your shoulders down. Relax the jaw till the ears. Place one hand on your stomach and the other on the chest and allow your elbows to relax on the floor. As you inhale, your abdomen raises up, and as you exhale, the abdomen falls down. Do not move your chest at all. Make sure you breathe slowly, gently without any jerks, without any noise in your nose, and without any break in your breath. Do this for 8- 10 minutes. If you have more time to practice then mentally count your breath. As you inhale mentally count one and as you exhale mentally count two and again as you inhale mentally count three. Take 100-200 deep, gentle and long breaths. If you miss the count, start from the beginning. This way you not only exercise your lungs, but also exercise your mind in improving memory, concentration, and celebrating the moment ‘now’.
Benefits: This pose itself is a remarkable pose that provides immediate relief for those suffering from insomnia, mental tensions, high and low blood pressure, lungs, and heart diseases. Lying down in this pose helps release pent-up stress and tension. It relaxes your muscles, nerves, joints, bones, each and every cell. It recharges your body with energy.
This pose helps you have a good night’s sleep. When you are ready to go to bed, lie down in this pose and practice breathing deeply by counting your breath mentally from 27 to 1.
3) Sitting Cross-legged – Place a thick blanket under your seat bones. Adjust the height of the cushion. Sit comfortably. Once you sit comfortably, relax your whole body and bring your attention to your abdomen. Begin to inhale slowly and deeply. As you inhale the abdomen expands forward like a balloon and as you exhale, move your abdomen gently towards the spine. Breathe deeply, gently, and according to your capacity. Practice this for 5-10mins. Within a week or so, with regular practice, you will be amazed to experience the increase in the capacity of your breathing. You will experience great vigor and vitality. The results are quick!
Sitting on the Chair – You may also practice the breathing exercises by sitting on a chair with your back, head, and trunk in a straight line. Maintain the curve of the spine and keep your shoulders down and relaxed. Place your hands on your thighs with your palms facing upwards. Relax completely and then gently place your palm on your abdomen and begin to breathe slowly and gently. As you inhale, feel the abdomen expand like a balloon and as you exhale bring your abdomen towards the spine. Do this for 5-10 mins.
FOR THE JOY OF EVERYDAY LIFE (Sharing with you a wonderful technique, for happiness from a Vietnamese Buddhist Monk, Thich Nhat Hanh)
Try this every time & everywhere thorough out the day:
Inhale and think of the word ‘smile’. Exhale and think of the word ‘smile’. Simply think as you inhale and exhale. Whatever you do, where ever you are, remember to breathe consciously thinking of this word ‘smile’ with every breath you take and experience bliss at all times.
Always smile even if there is no reason to, don’t forget!