Some simple breathing practice will help us improve our lung capacity,energize. And help us steady mind and concentration ,wich is of great help for the meditation practices that will follow .
Pranayama,offers a variety of practices to help regulate our body and even the mind and our emotions as well as cultivate energy . Therefore , will should learn to control the breath.
There are a variety of pranayama practices with different purposes . Some are cooling , some create energy and heat ,and others bring about balance and long term energy. We use the breath to energize the body ,clean it ,relax the mind and become cleaner and more focused.

                           Principles of pranayama
Ideally,pranayama should be practiced on an empty stomach when we wake up. Some prefer to meditate or do their yoga asana first . I find that some pranayama practice before meditation or asana ,some after asana .and some before sleep .
Most people breathe fast . If we can slow our breathing ,we can slow our aging. Pranayama help us learn how to control and regulate our breathing .

                     Preparing for the pranayama
Sit in a comfortable position -cross-legged or on your ankles is normally advised,however any sitting position that allows you lengthen your spine is great . Keep your hips higher than your knees . If you have a hard time to do that , you can seat folded blanket ,bolster . Just make sure to have your spine tall so you have room to breath .

                            Practice pranayama
Ujjayi breath
Ujjayi is the basic and most fundamental breath we use in asana practice , it can be practiced anywhere and anytime . It is nostril breathing that passes through a slightly restricted throat . This created a soft sound ,which help us stay aware of our breathing and maintain a focused mind . It also allows us to have better control of our breath , as we can breath slower and smoother. Ujjayi should flow easily and smoothly without much effort .

Nadi shodhana
Nadi shodhana is a helpful tool for bringing the body and mind into balance . It is a link between our yoga asana , breath , energy , and mind training.

Use the left hand set up as surya bedhana . Alternate the release of thumb on one side and the pinky and ring finger on the other side to control which nostril is open . We will begin with inhale and twice as long exhales .
* Inhale through the left for a count of four
* Hold for a count of four
* Exhale through the right for a count of eight
* Inhale through the right for a count of four
* Hold for a count of four
* Exhale through the left for a count of eight
This competes one full round. Practice this for six rounds .
Only raise the count when it is comfortable , and recognize that not every day will be the same. Some days will do much better . Practice six rounds to begin with ,and eventually do twelve rounds each time .


Zhang Yimeng 200hr Yoga TTC Sept 2017