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Taking Charge of Your Health


Hi, my name is Dr. Shailinder Sodhi.
Today we are discussing Pranayama, the breathing exercises.
Breathing exercises are very important for all of us.
The majority of the population all over the world, actually, believe it or not, are
shallow breathers. Which means we do not breathe deep enough to have the carbon
dioxide exchange done. The lungs are important parts of detoxification. By
doing deep breathing, we are detoxifying ourselves, also oxygenating our whole
system, which actually helps in clear thinking and also helps our heart. For
all of the cardiovascular system, it’s important that we breathe deeply. When we are breathing we need to remember our lungs are extending from all the way
above the clavicle bone, from the apex to the bottom right here, the upper
diaphragmatic area. If you open up the each lung, the cells would cover an entire
football field. That tells you how big the lung area is which is condensed in a
small area in the chest. So, what are the proper techniques of breathing? I will
show you a couple of breathing techniques. One is called alternative nostril
breathing and the second one, which I’ll show you, is called Sheetali. Both have their
own importance. So I will start with the alternative nostril breathing. And, as it
sounds, it means that we are breathing from the one nostril and we’re exhaling
out from the other nostril. And then breathing from the left nostril and
breathing out from the right nostril. So there is a technique. Usually, anytime you
do deep breathings you need to be in a very comfortable posture. You can do it
in your office on your chair or you can also do in open area. I prefer sitting
under the tree. Your favorite spot in the park or in your backyard, wherever you
feel that you are going to be totally calm and relaxed. One of the benefits
of doing deep breathing exercises is that it relaxes the adrenal glands which also
cuts down the stress hormones. So, now you understand why breathing is so important. Anytime stress hormones are up (elevated) they only do one thing. They can increase your blood pressure. It can cause insomnia, so you feel
stressed out all day and having all those stress hormone running around like
crazy and making you feel crazy. So breathing is one way to let the adrenal
calm down without doing anything. We do breathe, right? Everyone breathes, so it’s just the proper technique which I’m going to show you. So, let’s start with
alternate nostril Pranayama… So what I suggest is that you keep one hand on the left nostril and keep the right nostril open. So I’m
going to close my left nostril and I’m going to keep my upper body straight, close my
eyes and breathe very slowly through the right nostril. And hold… Then I’m going to close my
right nostril and breathe out through the left nostril slowly. And now I will breathe in from my left
nostril and breathe out from the right nostril. Here you go. So the whole idea is a five to
seven second inhale, hold and then breathe out through the other side of
the nostril in five to seven seconds. As you get better at it you can increase
your inhale time, holding time, and exhale time. Usually about sixteen breathings
in one session is good enough to give you the benefits of the alternate
nostril. The second exercise which I’m going to show is called Sheetali. Sheetali means having a cooling effect on the body. So Sheetali is done from the
breathing through the mouth. So the way we’re going to breathe is that by making
a funnel of the tongue. About 20% of the population cannot do this. I will show
them another technique – how they can alternate for Sheetali. So those of us who can make a funnel of the tongue like this. This is for you all. Okay, so can go into yoga mudra. You can sit in Padmasana or even sit and stay in the chair. Make a
tongue like this and start breathing through this funnel. Swallow. Then breathe out through the nose. I will repeat the technique again. so the benefit of Sheetali is that it
gives a cooling effect at the tip of the tongue which translate immediately
to the brain and the brain gets that cooling effect. This is a wonderful exercise during
the heat season, during the hot summer time and also whenever you feel like you
are in an angry mood or when, what we call, you have a Pitta aggravation. You can do this as a cooling exercise. It’s an amazing exercise. It helps to relax your
heart, it helps to relax your brain. Both of these exercises are very important. If you
do them routinely, about 16 breathings in each session, you get the benefit of it.
And you can do it as often as you need to. I hope you learned today from this breathing exercise. Please feel free to send us your comment. Thank you.

16 thoughts on “Proper Deep Breathing For Optimal Cardiovascular Health And Stress Relief

  1. Dr. Shailinder Sodhi, an Ayurvedic and Naturopathic physician based in Bellevue, Washington demonstrates:

    Nadi Shudhi – Exhalation and an inhalation through the left nostril, followed by a full breath through the right, with the whole pattern repeated several times. It is highly effective in clearing emotional blocks and infusing energy) 

    Sheetali Pranayama – The cooling breath is usually done after practicing other asanas and pranayamas. Sheetali Pranayama cools the body. Sheetali in sanskrit means ‘cooling’. Sheetali involves folding of the tongue to form a tube like shape. Some people may find it difficult to fold their tongue. They can do an alternate practice call Sheetkari Pranayama, which gives similar benefits.

    Breathing exercises are important because not enough carbon dioxide exchange is happening due to shallow breathing. This exercise is not only good for the lungs, but for the entire cardiovascular system. 

  2. You forgot to tell for those who cannot roll the tongue like that.

    Secondly why only sixteen breath? What if we do anulom vilom (alternate nostril) for longer periods, 15 minutes or more?

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