Terre Pruitt's Blog

In the realm of health, wellness, fitness, and the like, or whatever inspires me.

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Posts Tagged ‘Dirgha’

Rhythmic Breathing Health Helper

Posted by terrepruitt on September 11, 2019

I’ve written several posts about pranayama, the fourth limb of yoga, the practice or control (yama) of life force (prana), basically breathing techniques or exercises. I’ve posted about Dirgha or 3 Part Breath, Samavrtti or Equal Breath, Ujjayi or Victorious Breath/Ocean Breath, and Sitali or Cooling Breath. In those posts I have mentioned that I believe that all of us are familiar with the idea that you can take a breath to calm down or to slow down. I believe that most of us understand that a breath can do those things. Well, I am thinking there are other studies and papers out there that talk about how breath can help with physical changes, but I recently made note of very small study done in 2001 by a group of professors and physicians in Italy. Their report concluded that “Rhythm formulas that involve breathing at six breaths per minute induce favourable psychological and possibly physiological effects.”

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The report mentions reciting Ave Maria in Latin, yoga chants, or the rosary. These recitations caused a rhythmic breathing that equaled six breaths per minute. And 10 second breaths or six breaths per minute were the key to a consistent heart rate variability and baroreflex sensitivity.

A consistent heart rate variability can be a sign of good health as could baroreflex sensitivity. The heart rate variability/HRV is “a measure of the variation in time between each heartbeat”1. The baroreflex is “(or baroreceptor reflex) is one of the body’s homeostatic mechanisms that helps to maintain blood pressure at nearly constant levels.”2

So, this is just another small confirmation that pranayamas can help counter the stress we all face every day.  The specific type of breathing that is consistent and rhythmic allowing for a ten second/6-breath-per-minute breath.  You could do a 4-1-4-1 Samavrtti type of pranayama, where you inhale for 4 seconds, hold for 1, exhale for 4, and hold for one.  That would total 10 seconds.  Or you could do that same type of count with the Ujjayi breath.

The report just acts as a guide to possibly help one decide on a length of breath.  Just another tool to help us in our yoga practice or our daily lives.

Do you ever find yourself taking a calming breath?  Do you ever use breathing techniques?  Is pranayama part of your yoga practice?




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Folding Is An Art

Posted by terrepruitt on June 6, 2015

Many of you who attend yoga classes regularly might already know this, but then again, maybe not.  Sometimes there is not always time in any type of group exercise class to get the tips and tricks that are widely known.  As with me, I just recently learned this tip/trick.  And, I actually haven’t even had the chance to use is since I learned it.  This might not always be necessary even if you are using the same type of prop in a yoga class.  There are different uses and needs, so you might not always need this trick.  Recently I was in a yoga class and we were instructed to lie down on a specific configuration of blankets and blocks for pranayama.  The blanket was folded length-wise into thirds and we were to lie on it length-wise, with it running from the bottom of our neck to tail.  The idea is to allow the torso and chest to open.  We were to lie there and breathe.  As you may know, pranayama entails deep breathing and/or breathing specifically.  I think the pranayama we were supposed to be doing was three-part breath (Dirgha).  Where one is breathing into the belly, the rib cage, then the upper chest.  Then the exhale goes from upper chest, ribs, then belly.  Something I am just learning and that is not easy for me.  So, like I said before, breathing specifically.  Well, I could not concentrate because I was so uncomfortable. I couldn’t even take a full breath much less take it in from bottom to top and then breathe it out in the opposite fashion.  The blanket was bulky on the sides and it was keeping me from breathing with ease.  I couldn’t relax and let my chest open.  I ended up having to discard the blanket and just lie on the floor.

Dance Exercise, Nia, Nia in the City of San Jose,  Nia at the San Jose Community Centers, Nia classes in the South Bay, Nia Teacher, Nia Class, San Jose Nia, Nia San Jose, Nia workout, Nia, Gentle Yoga, Group Ex City of San Jose, San Jose Group Ex classes, YMCA, Zumba, PiYoAfter that portion of the class another teacher came in and explained how to fold a blanket to allow for maximum comfort.  It is easy and made complete sense.  Instead of folding it in halves or thirds like you would a blanket you are going to put in the closet, fold it like an accordion so that it is even.  There are no sides that are thicker.  When it is folded like an accordion it lies more evenly.  This is a much easier, more comfortable support to lie on.  When she demonstrated it, it looked perfect and comfortable.  I wanted to use it to see if it felt as comfortable as it looked, but it was not the time to do so.  And, as I mentioned, I have not yet had the opportunity to try folding a yoga blanket like that and using it.

I know, folding a blanket is an easy thing to do, but, as you may know, yoga blankets are very thick and sometimes they can be very bulky and bulgy when folded wrong.  The blankets and other props are there to be used to make poses more comfortable and give proper alignment.  Having it bulge and press on your body is not comfortable.

Do you use yoga blankets in your practice?  Might you see how this type of folding technique could create a comfortable platform to lie on?

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