Most people forget how vital it is to be conscious of how our breathing affects our overall wellbeing. Due to our modern lives’ demands, we become so distracted that we neglect what’s happening within ourselves and only give attention to something when it’s too late.
Breathing exercises come hand in hand with Yoga’s physical practice. These varieties of breathing exercises, also known as pranayama(s), help calm the mind in preparation for deeper meditation. Most of these pranayama(s) calms down our parasympathetic system which is responsible for our fight or flight reflex, telling our mind and body that it’s time to relax.
Pranayama(s) do not only influence the mind, but it also extends enormous benefits to the physical body. One of these breathing exercises is the Bahya Pranayama, also known as External Retention.
Bhaya means “outside” and this pranayama forcefully holds the breath outside the body. Breath retention happens after every exhalation. The recommended breathing ratio for Bahya pranayama is 1:2:3, meaning inhale for one second, exhale for two, then hold your breath for three seconds.
- Begin by sitting in Lotus Pose. If this posture is hard to do, just sit in a comfortable position while keeping your spine strong and upright.
- Remember the breathing pattern: 1:2:3.
- Take a deep breath in to fill your lungs then exhale as your stomach deflates.
- Suck the ribcage in as much as possible. This move is also called Uddiyana Bandha.
- Then bring your chin to your chest and hold your breath. This maneuver is known as the “Throat Lock” or Jalandhar Bandha.
- Stabilize your sit through “Root Lock” or Mulabandah, by lifting the muscles in your groin.
- Always make sure that these three bandha(s) are observed throughout the whole breathing exercise.
- Repeat this process for ten rounds or as much as you desire.
Overall wellness: This practice can naturally cure constipation, hernia, and other gastric problems. It also helps solve problems in the prostate glands and reproductive system. Bahya pranayama also helps boost metabolism and is beneficial to those who suffer from urinary related ailments and diabetes. It is also very effective in releasing emotional tensions and prepares the path for enlightenment.
Refrain from doing this breathing exercise if you are suffering from:
- high blood pressure
- any heart disease
- cervical colitis.
- Pregnant women
- women on their menstrual period are also advised to avoid doing Bahya pranayama.
Practice in an empty stomach, preferably upon waking up.
Developing a habit of pausing every once in while is a very effective way to reflect and reassess our thoughts, emotions and physical wellness. Breathing is directly linked to our emotions. To gain control of our breathing is to be conscious of what’s inside the mind.
Along with Yoga’s physical practice and meditation, being at your full potential is not hard to be achieved. With regular practice and proper progressions, you will be surprised to discover your possibilities and unlock hidden capabilities. Flow with positive energies and enjoy your journey to self-awareness!