Pranayama Playfulness - my 5 breathing techniques for Gemini season

Pranayama Playfulness - my 5 breathing techniques for Gemini season

Gemini and Pranayama go hand in hand for me, Gemini’s are the first air sign of the zodiac and Pranayama is the breath, our life force. Yet how often do you focus on, check in with or connect with your breath? Gemini are the Twins and we have 2 lungs, 2 nostrils, 2 flows of the breath - inhale and exhale. The breath is about welcoming and letting go, nourishing our mind and body yet so many of us don’t know how to breath properly!

Yes its automated BUT as so many of us live in a state of flight or fight aka stress our breath suffers and so we live in this cycle of stress and are unable to relax. Pranayama practices/ breathing techniques are the one part of a yoga practice that has been scientifically proven to work. Yet I’ve been at health fayres and chatted to loads of wonderful people asking about the benefits of yoga BUT they tell me - ‘as long as I don’t have to do the breathing thing’! UMMMM WHAT?! The thing that keeps you alive! I just have to laugh.

As a prenatal and postnatal Yoga Teacher I taught women who were due to give birth AND post birth, birthing techniques to help keep them calm which has the same affect on the baby, keeping everyone relaxed. Certain breathing techniques can be used whilst giving birth and the feedback I’ve received from students about how calm they were and how surprised the maternity staff were with the practices is amazing. Yet sadly not enough people understand how to use these amazing techniques.

So here are 5 of my favourite Pranayama practices. Keep it playful rather than trying to practice these perfectly as everyone’s breathing is very different. Find the one that works for you and have a go with a new technique when you are ready.

Calming Pranayama practices:

Ujjayi breath

Ujjayi (Ooo-jie-ee) breath also called Ocean breath is a fantastic way to calm the mind and the body. Great for the Gemini monkey mind! The practice of Ujjayi breath uses the muscles of the throat to control and lengthen the breath. If you feel the desire to yawn let it happen as its just a lovely side affect of this breathing technique.

Ujjayi breath helps to focus the mind and is calming – great to use when feeling stressed or anxious or when you are having trouble sleeping.

To practice:

Start seated, breathe in through the nose, breathe out through the mouth making an O shape, breathe from the back of the throat. The exhale should sound like a soft sigh, image you are trying to fog up a mirror with your breath. Make sure the breath is soft and relaxed so you shouldn’t sound like Darth Vader. In time you may be able to practice Ujjayi breath exhaling out of the nose. I love the practice of exhaling gently out of the mouth as this encourages the jaw to relax.

Alternate nostril breath

Alternate nostril breath or Nadi Shodhana is a great breathing technique to calm the mind, and can be used if you suffer from headaches and don’t wish to use pain meds straightaway, great to use before you start your physical practice or as part of a meditation practice. If you have a busy mind practice alternate nostril breath to centre your mind on the breath. Have a practice by clicking on the link above.

Playful Pranayama practices:

Lions breath

Lions breath or Simhasana (think SIMba from the Lion King!) is a great way to bring a little bit of silliness into your practice. Everytime I invite my students to practice someone always gets the giggles which I encourage as its fun to be silly at times and it helps us de-stress and blow off the cobwebs.

To practice:

Seated, breath in through the nose, on your exhale open your mouth wide, stick out your tongue pointing the tongue down towards your chin and release a loud roar of an exhale. Practice 3-5 rounds unless you end up in fits of giggles first.

Ha breath

Want more playfulness? Try Ha breath, which as you may have guessed by the name can also invite in the giggles, HA like the sound you make when you laugh can happen when we practice this playful pranayama as a group. Have a go in Goddess pose by clicking the link above, have a laugh or really let off some steam with this one!

Pranayama for the core:

Belly breath

Belly breath can sometimes feel like the breath is working in reverse, especially for beginners so don’t worry if you don’t click with this one straight away.

Think about using the exhale to compress the belly to help push the breath out of the lungs. As you inhale deeply into the belly you use the diaphragm which draws down into the lower belly to expand the lungs. This breath using the deep core muscles and gently builds deep core strength. To practice click the link above.

Want to have a go with a Playful Pranayama yoga practice? Roll out your mat and enjoy this FREE 20 minute practice with me including some of the Pranayama practices I mention in this blog.

Want to learn more about Yoga and breathing techinques? - Check out my online beginners course

If you enjoyed this blog please like it, share it with your friends and leave me a comment below

The Astro Yogi )0(