Pranayama

–          Ujayyi Breathing

o   Benefits: Soothes the nervous system while calming the mind and increasing the body’s internal heat. Slows the heart rate down and is useful for those with high blood pressure or heart disease.

o   Contraindications: Essentially none

–          Nadi Shodana

o   Benefits: Calms the body and balances its energies. It purifies the nadis or the subtle lines of energy within which allows the channels to flow more easefully. Breathing through the left nostril activates the right side of the brain, while breathing through the right nostril activates the right hemisphere.

o   Contraindications: Do not practice if there is a cold, flu or fever especially with nasal congestion. No breath holding portion if there are issues with blood pressure.

–          Sheetali

o   Benefits: Cools the body and improves temperature regulation in the body. It gives control over hunger and thirst while generating feelings of satisfaction.

o   Contraindications: People who suffer from low blood pressure or lung disorders should not practice. Make sure to practice in a non-polluted area that’s not too cold

–          Sheetkari

o   Benefits: Same as sheetali

o   Contraindications: Those with sensitive teeth, or missing/dentures should avoid if there’s pain/sensitivity

–          Brahmari

o   Benefits: Relieves stress and cerebral tension while increasing the healing capacity of the body. Induces a meditative state while soothing the nervous system. Alleviates anger, anxiety and insomnia.

o   Contraindications: Anyone with severe ear infections

–          Bhastrika

o   Benefits: Burns up toxins, and helps balance the doshas (Ayurveda medicine: kapha, vata, pitta), increases the exchange of oxygen and CO2 in the blood stream, stimulates metabolic rate, balances and strengthens the nervous system

o   Contraindications: pregnancy, high blood pressure, heart disease (including stroke), hernia, gastric issues, eye problems (retinal detachment, glaucoma), epilepsy, vertigo, may not feel good during menstruation

–          Kapalbhati (technically a kriya: shining skull)

o   Benefits: Reverses the normal breathing process with a forceful exhale (and passive inhale) which has profound effects on the nervous system, cleanses the lungs, blood and internal organs

Contraindications: pregnancy, high blood pressure, heart disease (including stroke), hernia, gastric issues, epilepsy, vertigo

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