How to do Alternate Nostril Breathing (Pranayama)

Pranayama is one of my Top 10 Ayurvedic practices to stay balanced. I learned how to do do pranayama breathing in 1987 in rural Québec. I've done it for many, many years. What's strange to me, is that for the 6 years I was too weak to leave the house most days, or function in day-to-day routines at home, I stopped doing it. Why? I should have known enough to realize I had a severe Vata imbalance. I should have realized that if I was barely breathing as I lay in bed, on the sofa, or on the back patio, too weak to lift a finger, that I needed to rekindle my life energy, my prana, or chi. How? Through breathing. Silly me. I've learned this: The most important Ayurvedic exercise for
chronically ill people is, believe it or not, breathing, because shallow breathing, and barely breathing at all, are common when very ill or fatigued.

I've been doing 2-5 minutes of pranayama everyday for over a month now to help me heal from my adrenal exhaustion (insufficiency) and thyroid dysfunction, and my breathing and energy is so much better.  It's the most important exercise anyone can do to maintain vitality. The surprising thing is

I had found a cloth-bound book on yoga in a used bookstore in a rural town in Québec twenty or more years ago, and have practiced it off and on over the years. I've stopped for some reason over the last six years that I've been so ill.

I've realized much of my weakness over the last several years can now be helped by rekindling my body's prana (chi or energy) through the simple practice of pranayama. Vladimir Kazinets suggested I do alternate nostril breathing for five minutes every day as a warm up, followed by 100 - 200 repetitions of Kapala Bati. Kapala Bati is another breathing exercise where you imagine your are quickly pressing your belly button to your spine.

Also, Dr. Claudia Welch mentions in her book, Balance Your Hormones, Balance Your Life, that if one can take anything away from her book it is this: pranayama does more to balance hormones than anything else she discusses.

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