Monday, April 27, 2015

Teaching a Detoxifying Yoga Class: Pranayama

how to teach pranayama exercises
By: Virginia Iversen, M.Ed

Warm weather is upon us, and many Yoginis and Yogis alike are feeling the seasonal urge to detoxify after a long, cold winter. Well, the winter was long and cold, at least in the northern hemisphere. If you live in a warmer climate, the shift between winter and spring may not be as pronounced, but you will be most likely still be feeling the seasonal urge to wax your car, clean out your closet and plant some fresh flowers and herbs. Engaging in a seasonally appropriate detoxifying regime is one of the fundamental cornerstones of Ayurveda, Yoga’s health-promoting sister science. 




As we all walk through life, we pick up many unnecessary possessions, outdated ways of being, unprocessed painful experiences, and outmoded belief systems. By engaging in a physically and emotionally detoxifying regime on a seasonal basis, your load will be lighter and your spirit will be more likely to soar and stay positive through many different life experiences and circumstances. In terms of a Yoga practice, there are many ways to increase the detoxifying benefits of a regular practice of asanas, pranayama exercises and meditation techniques. 

If you are a Yoga teacher, by including ten or fifteen minutes of balancing and detoxifying pranayama exercises into your class, you will support your students in the process of clearing their bodies of lymphatic waste and deeply held stress, as well as assisting them in identifying and releasing negative thought patterns. Some of the most profoundly detoxifying pranayama exercises are Skull Shining Breath and Kapalabhati Pranayama. Additionally, by taking the support of Ocean Sounding Breath, or Ujjayi Pranayama, during the practice of the asanas, the detoxifying effects of your students’ Yoga practice will be substantially increased. 

It is estimated that the exhalation releases approximately eighty percent of the toxins in the physical body. By practicing Yogic-breathing exercises that reinforce and emphasize the exhalation, the detoxifying effects of a student’s Yoga practice will be increased quite naturally. Simply leading your students through a mindful practice of pranayama exercises, which balances the inhalation and exhalation, is an important first step for many Yoga students. Many of us tend to hold our breaths, inhale in a shallow manner and never exhale fully, because of the high level of stress and anxiety that most of us experience on a daily basis. When we hold do not inhale and exhale fully, toxins build up and our body remains stuck in “high alert.” 



* Square Breathing and Gratitude

The practice of Square Breathing is quite uplifting, when it is done in conjunction with focusing on gratitude. Most Yoga students can easily perform this beginning pranayama exercise. Square Breathing simply involves inhaling for a count of four, holding the breath for a count of four, exhaling for a count of four, and then pausing for a count of four. This four-count breath helps to elongate and balance the inhalation and exhalation. Practicing Square Breathing also helps to balance the parasympathetic and sympathetic nervous systems, which will calm and energize the body and mind. An ideal time to lead your Yoga students through the practice of Square Breathing is during their practice of Shavasana

If you are leading your students through the practice of Square Breathing and you would like to add a gratitude component to the exercise, you may wish to suggest to your Yoga students that they think of something they are grateful for with each four count pause. The things, people or experiences that your students are grateful for can be large or small, transcendental or mundane. For instance, one of your Yoga students may be grateful for the healthy birth of her new child, while another Yoga student may simply be grateful for another day, a hot bath or a good cup of coffee! The most uplifting part of this breathing exercise is the simple feeling of gratitude, in conjunction with the balancing effect of Square Breathing. 


Virginia Iversen, M.Ed, has been practicing and studying the art of Yoga for over twenty years. She lives in Woodstock, New York; where she specializes in writing customized, search engine-optimized articles that are 100% unique. She is currently accepting yoga and health-related writing orders and may be contacted at: enchantress108@gmail.com


© Copyright – Virginia Iversen / Aura Wellness Center – Publications Division

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4 comments:

parvezbdjsr said...

By practicing Yogic-breathing exercises that reinforce and emphasize the exhalation, the detoxifying effects of a student’s Yoga practice will be increased quite naturally. Thanks for sharing this valuable article.

Mary Wilson said...

The most uplifting part of breathing exercise is the simple feeling of gratitude, in conjunction with the balancing effect of Square Breathing. Thanks for posting this informative writing.

BC said...

Simply explained and very informative. Thank you.

Imran Hosen said...

The first helpful tool for a total yoga beginner is to build basic familiarity with yoga ... I am so glad this post was helpful to you. ...
yoga for beginner