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Embracing Healing with Yoga Therapy Part 2

Contact Author Bija Bennett, Bijab.com
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The COVID-19 crisis makes staying healthy a top concern of the spa industry, yet raises concerns about social distancing and safety. Yoga therapy offers contact-free strategies tor employees and clients to strengthen their immune system, access emotions and alleviate anxiety and fear. The Global Wellness Institute (GWI) Yoga Therapy Initiative is working to establish this enduring and evolving practice as a true wellness modality. 

Check out Part 1 to Embracing Healing with Yoga Therapy...

Breathing for Self-care + Immunity

Breathing is a way to regenerate your immune system and to build stability, adaptability and strength. It controls regeneration, which leads to an efficient metabolism. Be consistent and deliberate, and your new habits will motivate you even more as they become linked to a long-term vision of your health.

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Here are two different breathing (pranayama) practices that can be used for either “nourishing” or “reducing” your system. In yoga therapy, these strategies are called: 1) Brahmana therapy, which works to nourish and expand the system (for reducing dullness, low energy, lack of confidence, depression); and 2) Langhana therapy, which is used when some kind of excess in the system must be reduced (for calming and reducing stress, anxiety, agitation or overwhelming feelings).

Breathing Brahmana

This type of breath can be used for building confidence, energy and focus. This breathing strategy helps to increase your energy, build strength, promote immunity and good respiratory health. Lengthening your inhalation creates a nourishing and stimulating effect in your body and mind. Be aware that you may have a tendency to go beyond what is comfortable for you. Be cautious. Never push your breath.

You may first prepare your body to sit by moving a little or practicing some yoga postures—placing an emphasis on your inhalation. Then, sit comfortably and shift your attention to the flow of your breath. Observe how it comes and goes. Begin to consciously create a soft sound as you slightly contract the glottis muscle at the back of your throat. Feel the sensation of the breath in your throat rather than in your nose. Make it smooth and even. I call this the Whispering Breath. Breathe slowly and deeply.

Begin by gradually lengthening your inhalation six counts. Hold easily for two counts. Then, exhale for 12 counts and suspend the breath two counts. Repeat this same breathing ratio four times, and then, continue to follow the practice outlined in the following table. You will progressively increase the length of the inhalation and pause, building to a recommended maximum. Then you will gradually bring the breathing ratio back to normal breathing.

 

Rest for a few minutes and feel the effects of this Brahmana strategy.

Breathing Langhana

This breathing strategy helps calm your energy, promote relaxation and reduce stress. Lengthening your exhalation creates a calming and relaxing effect in your body and mind. Be aware that you may have a tendency to go beyond what is comfortable for you. Be cautious. Never push your breath.

You may first prepare your body to sit by moving a little or practicing some yoga postures—placing an emphasis on your exhalation. Then sit comfortably and shift your attention to the flow of your breath. Observe how it comes and goes. Begin to consciously create a soft sound as you slightly contract the glottis muscle at the back of your throat. Feel the sensation of the breath in your throat rather than in your nose. Make it smooth and even. I call this the Whispering Breath. Breathe slowly and deeply.

Begin by gradually lengthening your exhalation eight counts. Suspend the breath easily for two counts. Then inhale for eight counts and hold the breath two counts. Repeat this same breathing ratio four times, and then, continue to follow the practice outlined in the following table. You will progressively increase the length of the exhalation and pause, building to a recommended maximum. Then you will gradually bring the breathing ratio back to normal breathing.

 

Rest for a few minutes and feel the effects of this Langhana strategy.

“Breathing is a powerful way to regenerate your immune system.”

Breathing is one of the greatest secrets of yoga—if you practice it with sincerity, you will obtain healing powers beyond your imagination. Yet breathing itself is not a secret. It’s right there. If you train yourself in one area only, be awake to your breath. It’s that basic. You can build your whole life around it.

Author

Bija Bennett is an acclaimed author, speaker and wellness industry pioneer whose practice focuses on the tenets of mind-body health, a discipline she teaches through accessible and engaging strategies. She has developed pioneering programs and workshops for Fortune 500 companies and major medical institutions, authored four seminal books, including “Emotional Yoga: How the Body Can Heal the Mind” and myriad articles on health, healing and personal growth, and is currently the Chair of the Global Wellness Institute’s Yoga Therapy Initiative. She counts Deepak Chopra among her colleagues and has taught numerous celebrities, including Joni Mitchell, Calvin Klein, Barbra Streisand, George Harrison and Laura Dern. Through her website, www.bijab.com, Bija provides a range of wellness services tailored to individuals, businesses and audiences.

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