Posts Tagged ‘nadi shodhana pranayama’

Pranayama Exercises for Trauma Survivors

Friday, February 3rd, 2012

yoga distance learningBy Narendra Maheshri

Pranayama is the practice of breath control through a variety of Yogic breathing exercises. The root of the word pranayama is “prana,” which means life force energy in Sanskrit. This life force energy is manifest as the flow of oxygen throughout the entire body, including the brain. Practicing pranayama exercises can be a great tool for trauma survivors who are struggling with dissociative coping mechanisms, hyper-arousal, overwhelming anxiety and insomnia. Pranayama exercises can support a trauma survivor in his or her ability to tolerate distressful feelings and memories. The judicious practice of appropriate pranayama techniques also allows a trauma survivor to immediately shift his or her emotional state of being.

Some pranayama exercises are stimulating and other breathing techniques are balancing and calming. Nadi Shodhana pranayama is known as alternate nostril breathing. This breathing practice is appropriate for Yoga students of all levels. It clears the mind and balances the right and left hemispheres of the brain. Nadi Shodhana pranayama also calms the entire nervous system down thereby alleviating symptoms of hyper-arousal. As tension, anxiety and internal states of panic subside, your mind will clear and your overall energy levels will increase. Additionally, your ability to focus and concentrate on the task-at-hand will also improve. Nadi Shodhana pranayama is also very grounding and helps to slow down and ameliorate the sense of being frantic all the time that so many trauma survivors struggle with regularly.

To practice Nadi Shodhana pranayama come to a comfortable seated position on a chair with your feet flat on the floor or on your Yoga mat in an easy-seated position. Begin by curling your index finger and ring finger of your right hand in towards your palm. Raise your right hand up to the bridge of your nose and gently close your left nostril with the fourth and fifth finger of your right hand. Take on long inhale through your right nostril to a count of 5 then close your right nostril with your thumb. Hold your inhale for 5 counts. Release your left nostril and exhale for a count of 5. Repeat the same procedure on the left side. Take your time. If you are feeling anxious or breathing to a count of 5 is too difficult, back off and practice Nadi Shodhana at your own pace. If it feels appropriate today, practice ten complete rounds of Nadi Shodhana. After you have finished this pranayama practice, pause and feel the gentle calmness pervading your body and mind.

© Copyright 2012 – Aura Wellness Center – Publications Division

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Yoga Poses for the Seventh Chakra

Wednesday, November 2nd, 2011

yoga teacher trainingBy Faye Martins

The Seventh Chakra is located at the crown of the head and is referred to in Sanskrit as the “Sahasrara Chakra.” This chakra contains a luminous-white thousand-petal lotus that undulates in three-dimensional brilliance. When the awakened Kundalini Shakti travels up through all of the chakras and ultimately pierces the Sahasrara Chakra, true spiritual wisdom begins to unfold.

The Sahasrara Chakra is associated with both the colors violet and white. As all of the chakras are awakened, purified and energized, a Yogi or Yogini will experience successively higher spiritual states finally culminating in a profound sense of oneness with the divine or enlightenment. Practicing Yoga poses that enhance the awakening and balancing of each chakra will help to nourish the Kundalini Shakti and support her journey up towards the Sahasrara or Crown Chakra.

Yoga poses that balance and energize the Crown Chakra, work on both energetic and emotional levels. A classical Yoga asana for the activation of the Crown Chakra is Headstand. Nadi Shodhana pranayama is also a relaxing breathing exercise that balances the right and left hemispheres of the brain. Additionally, the Kundalini Yoga Sat Kriya helps to clear the energetic pathway up through all seven chakras. Practicing the Sat Kriya will awaken and nourish the divine Kundalini Shakti as she ascends up through the lower six chakras and ultimately pierces the Seventh Chakra.

Sat Kriya

The Sat Kriya is both an asana and a Yoga mudra. It is best practiced regularly for three to thirty one minutes at a time. Practicing the Sat Kriya for forty consecutive days will profoundly stimulate all seven chakras enhancing the journey of the Kundalini Shakti as she travels up along the Sushumna Nadi that lies along the spinal column.

To begin practicing the Sat Kriya, sit on your heels on your Yoga mat. If your knees are sensitive, place a folded blanket under them. Interlace your fingers and raise your arms over your head. Men are advised to cross their right thumb over their left, and women are advised to cross their left thumb over their right thumb. Begin by taking one complete Yogic breath. On your next exhale, begin to chant “Sat Nam” in a regular rhythm for the amount of time your have set aside to practice this kriya. At the end of your practice, sit quietly for a few minutes and feel the vibration of energy pulsate throughout your entire being.

© Copyright 2011 – Aura Wellness Center – Publications Division

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