How to Start Yoga
Simple Exercise for Starting Your Yoga Practice
One of the great things about yoga, is how effective even simple techniques can be for your health and well being. In this article, I will detail one such basic yoga exercise, which is excellent to use prior to starting your yoga practice. It is formally called The Nasal Cleansing Process (Shwasana Marga Shuddhi), and it is a great breathing exercise to use before beginning your yoga routine.
This exercise is also particularly helpful for those just beginning yoga practice as it gives them a taste of the power of yoga pranayama or yogic breathing techniques. Even though the Nasal Cleansing Breathing Technique is not formally a yoga pranayama, it certainly has all the dimensions which pranayamas have, including some of the great benefits. Formally this is consider a Kriya, or cleansing technique, and as I mentioned above it is a great preparatory exercise.
What Nasal Cleansing does, is get the system ready to do yoga and help the system maximize the benefits from the yoga practice. It should not be confused with Neti, which is a water based Nasal Cleansing technique, but like Neti, this exercise also looks to clear the nasal passageways (along with lungs and throat), but does so with air instead of water.
BTW:, if you are not familiar with Neti, I strongly suggest trying it out. It is excellent for fighting respiratory and sinus issues, and you can get details of Neti in the following article: Allergy Relief with Jal Neti Technique.
Even though this is a simple yoga exercise, you should still follow the guidelines that I have suggested in the following 2 articles.
This technique will become part of our ongoing Online Yoga Breathing Exercises E-book.
Below please find full details of how to practice this basic yoga technique, including, cautions, step-by-step instructions, benefits and practice tips. An excellent explanation for this pranayama can also be found in the book, Yoga for Health and Peace, by Sadashiv Nimbalkar.
Video and Illustrations of Nasal Cleansing Technique Coming Soon
A. How to Basic Yoga Starting Breathing:
- Sit up straight either in any cross legged posture or sit up on your heels. Important to keep the back straight and everything relaxed.
- Next create a fist with your right hand with your thumb extended. With you left hand hold your left knee (Drona Mudra).
- Now close your right nostril with your thumb and breathe in the following way exclusively through the left nostril.
- Explosively exhale through the left nostril, contracting the chest and abdomen sharply as you do this exhalation. Then allow for a passive inhalation to refill your lungs with air. Repeat this explosive exhalation through the left nostril and passive inhalation 5 times.
- Next place your right hand on your right knee and make a fist of your left hand, with your thumb extended.
- Now close the left nostril and do the 5 explosive breaths through the right nostril exclusively.
- After completing that set of 5, place both hands on your knees and do 5 explosive exhalations through both nostrils. Again, the inhalation should just be passive and natural.
- This completes 1 full round. Do 5 rounds. Now you are ready to do your yoga routine.
B. How Much to Do:
- Start with 5 rounds, where each round consists of the 5 exhalations. Work your way up to doing 10 rounds total.
- Great for clearing the lungs and respiratory system.
- Good for fighting respiratory problems.
- Improves the entire respiratory system.
- Excellent for starting your yoga routing and preparing the body for yoga.
D. Practice Tips:
- Don’t do this exercise if either one of your nostrils is blocked for any reason.
- Even though it is a basic breathing technique, start with 5 rounds first and then build up from there.
- Excellent yoga exercise for those just beginning yoga practice or new to yoga pranayama.
- For those familiar with other Yoga Pranayamas, yes this is a similar exercise to Kapalbhati Pranayama, and can be done to prepare for Kapalbhati as well.