3 Spring Cleaning Breath Exercises

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The weather has warmed, there are flowers on the trees, and the season of spring is officially in bloom here in Colorado. From an energetic standpoint, spring is the season of renewal, inviting us to clean out what no longer serves us and get a fresh start! Spring is a popular time to go through the house and tidy up, aka “spring cleaning,” throwing the windows open, and culling your closets, making way for the light, airy, spaciousness of the season. And while it’s great to work on your house this time of year, it’s also a wonderful opportunity to work on your inner house too!

There’s something in the air right now, and you’ve probably felt it flowing through you lately. You feel more awake, more optimistic, more energized. Maybe you’ve started a juice cleanse, or picked up on your yoga practice again. Spring invites us to take a look at ourselves and our habits, and release the old behaviors that may not be working for us anymore. Over the winter, the warmth and heaviness kept us grounded and nourished, but now is the time to trim the fat, and breathe fresh new life into your world. And when we think of it, breathing itself is one of the best ways we can get the stagnant energy moving again, letting go of the old, and making space for the new!

Our breath is our anchor, no matter where we are or what we’re doing. The steady rise and fall ties our consciousness to the present moment, fully alive in our bodies. And spring is a great time to work with our breath, and reconnect with our vibrant, powerful selves. Spring cleaning is not just for dusty shelves anymore! In the house of your body, your lungs are the windows in, exchanging energy with every breath you take. With these three exercises, you can get some fresh air, and prime your body to make the most of the season of renewal.

  1. Lion’s Breath (Simhasana)

Clear the air with this powerful yogic breathing technique. There are many variations of this pranayama pose, so find the one that feels the best for you. Don’t be afraid to be a little silly with this one, and allow your inner lion to come out and play!


 

  1. Breath of Fire (Kapalabhati)

This energetic breathing technique will engage your diaphragm and abdominal muscles, and can be used to help you wake up and open the sinus and bronchial passages. It’s one of the most potent detoxifying breaths and uses a sharp, strong rhythm to get the energy moving! If you’re brand new to this practice, go slowly to make sure you don’t get lightheaded.


 

  1. Alternate Nostril Breathing (Nadi Shodhana)

When you want something simple that can help keep you balanced, then this technique is perfect for you. It’s thought to bring equilibrium to both sides of the brain, is great to reduce anxiety and headaches, and also can be nice as a regular daily practice. This pranayama will bring your awareness to each nostril, and stimulate the coordination part of the brain too!

Thanks to Adriene from Yoga With Adriene for the awesome tutorial videos!

Learning to work with the breath is one of the most important acts of self-care that you can do, and you can emphasize different pranayama techniques for every season. Most of the time, we don’t give our breath the attention and respect it deserves, and we underestimate the power of the breath to shift our moods, keep us young, and help us heal whatever we’re currently struggling with. In fact, the Sanskrit word “pranayama” literally means, “to extend the vital life force”- pretty cool, right?

If you are new to pranayama practices, here are a few little tips to get you started:

  • If you’re suffering from seasonal allergies, like many do, take the time to blow your nose or use a sinus rinse before you begin your breathing exercises.
  • Always practice in a physical posture or position that is comfortable for you. Honor your body! If your knees or lower back are in pain, you won’t get the same benefits of the practice.
  • At various points during the day, spend a moment simply being aware of the breath, without trying to change it in any way. Pay attention to the air flowing through your nose and filling your lungs.
  • Make pranayama a daily habit- choose your favorite and fold it into your daily routine, like right after you wake up, during your lunch break, or right before bed.

Springtime is such a beautiful and energizing time of year, and these pranayama techniques can really help you make the most of this, bringing health and vitality to your body and mind.

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