Did you know the breathe is the bridge between the mind and the body? For over 5000 years the yogis have believed and taught the power and importance of deep mindful breathing called Pranayama. Having practiced and taught yoga for over 20 years I would love to pass on and share a handful of items I have learned along my journey.
Breathing is the foundation of the yoga practice and life. Focusing on our foundations is essential to living and feeling well, so with that being said – one of the very best activities you can possibly do for your health is to take 10 deep slow inhales and exhales through the nose or more until you feel a shift in your mind and or body. According to Dr. Marcelle Pick, breathing through your nose stimulates your parasympathetic nervous system and induces relaxation. Nose breathing also conditions your breath, filtering the air and adding moisture to your breath before it enters your lungs.

” The nose is for breathing, the mouth is for eating.”


Here I feel are a few facts to know about the benefits of deep mindful breathing.
1. 70% of toxins are released with proper breathing, cleaning our lungs – if not the toxins (carbon dioxide) do not get released.
2. Calms the mind to put us in the parasympathetic nervous system (rest and digest) – when we are stressed out the blood actually goes away from our brains and can cause us to make poor choices.
3. Improves brain function because of increasing the oxygen to the brain.
4. Help in the aid of getting to sleep easier – quiets the mind. (use the 4-7-8 breathing exercise)
5. Decreases anxiety and depression because of increasing the oxygen to the brain.
6. Decreases stress and regulates our bodies level of cortisol (the stress hormone)
7. Reduces pain and activation of pain centers in the brain, studies show that breathing into your pain helps to ease it.

I have found that if people know why and how a new tool they are going to add into their lives really works, they tend to actually stick with it and do it.

1. Start either sitting in a chair or on a bolster or lay down on the floor – do what makes your body comfortable and will not be distracted as easily.
2. Simply notice your breathing – not judging or controlling it – just breathe for a couple of minutes.
3. Next smooth your breathe out – see how gentle and even you can make it.
4. Relax your belly to soften and encourage your breathe to move throughout both your lungs and down to your abs.
5. Once this feels more natural then add the counting of how long you can increase your inhales and exhales.
6. Use the pauses in between your inhales and exhales to silence the mind.  This my friends is where the magic happens.
7. Visualize a square in your mind and use your inhale and go up the right side – pause go across the top of the square – exhale down the left side of the square and lastly pause go across the bottom of the square.
8. It is natural to feel rushed, try and let that go and start at #1 again. Deep Mindful Breathing takes practice.
9. Ask for help and or find a yoga teacher who can help you and lead you. There are breathing apps for your phone. I like the CALM app.

Reminder breathing is free, it requires no additional equipment, you can do it anytime and it can be practiced by everyone, from the healthy to the sick. The key is you just have to start a little bit every day.

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Mary, is the owner of All Life is Yoga in Eagle River, Alaska and has been involved in yoga for over 20 years, and she feels yoga is more powerful than any other style of exercise she has ever done. Mary’s journey to yoga was not clear to her in the beginning, but she always has had a passion for fitness. She attended UAA to pursue becoming a Fitness Instructor and Personal Trainer. After graduation she worked at the Alaska Club teaching aqua, step, cycling, strength training classes and everything she could do to share health and fitness with everyone. In 2004 when Mary was introduced to YogaFit, she never looked back. She began taking training after training and teaching out of her garage in 2005. As her knowledge and love of yoga grew so did her following, which led to the opening of her studio in September, 2011. Her family has lived in this wonderful town of Eagle River for over 25 years. She feels yoga is a gift to ourselves and each other. Yoga is a way to breathe and move safely, while creating the space in our bodies called flexibility. Yoga can help us get back to our true authentic soul and create harmony and the feeling of wholeness in our body and mind. Her strength comes from the joy she sees in each of her students. The gratitude in her heart is overwhelming, and she prays everyday in thanksgiving for all. She welcomes all to Yoga!! Namaste


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