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The health cafe' concept is one where we discuss complicated health issues of a very serious nature in a very light and understandable language. The medical jargon often used by doctors do sound like Greek and Latin to many of us. Hear at the health cafe' it is our effort to detail, discuss and focus on these health issues in a very simple language and light cafe like atmosphere. The focus it to create an interactive platform where people at large could get authentic health related information at the click of a mouse from the true experts in the field. Hope you all enjoy reading the health cafe' and you are welcome to respond with your views and queries to our team who are every ready to help you out with your health care needs. THE HEALTH CAFE TEAM

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Monday, October 24, 2011

Easy Breezy Breath of Health!

Did you know that almost 70% of the toxins produced in your body actually leave through your breath?  So when you don’t breathe right, most of the toxins don’t leave; they accumulate in different parts of your body, and over time cause disease. So,  how about trying to breathe your way to a cleaner, fresher body?
Your nose holds far more than just mucus and nasal hair. It holds the potential to energizing and calming your body and mind.

Left, Right

The breath through the left nostril calms the body and the breath through the right nostril energizes you. When you breathe in through the left nostril, the right hemisphere of your brain is activated. This side of your brain is the ‘feeling’ side, which holds your creativity, emotions etc. Breathing through the right nostril activates the right side of your brain – which is the ‘thinking’ side. It holds your logic, linearity, mechanical and technical perception etc. You need both sides of your brain to work in a complementary and harmonious way, without one overshadowing the other. The alternate breathing technique is the best way to ensure this. When you do this breathing, you calm down your overworked left brain and awaken your ignored right brain.

The Purifying Breath

While you are doing this breathing exercise, you need to hold your right hand in a certain manner. Make a loose fist with your right hand. Now, open up your thumb from the fist, then open up the ring and little finger. You should have your index and middle finger touching your palm somewhere below the base of the thumb. Hold this position without straining your fingers, be easy and gentle. As you do the exercise, you may manipulate the fingers a bit for better comfort. As far as possible, do this exercise on an empty stomach, or three hours after a meal.
1.. Place your right thumb against the right nostril and gently close the nostril. Do not push hard against your nose.
2.. Inhale – a long and gentle breath- through your left nostril
3.. Pause for a second.
4.. With your thumb still holding the right nostril closed, bring your ring finger to your left nostril and close it. Release the thumb from the right nostril.
5.. Exhale through the right nostril.
6.. Holding your hand in the same position, inhale through the right nostril.
7.. Pause for a second.
8.. With the ring finger still holding the left nostril closed, bring thumb up to close the right nostril. Release the left nostril.
9.. Exhale through the left nostril.
You have finished one round of alternate nostril breathing. When you start, do 1-3 rounds. If you are feeling comfortable with this pace, gradually increase the number of rounds. Remember to never force your breath – gentleness and ease of breathing will give you far better results than forcefulness. When you finish the exercise, sit with your eyes closed for a few minutes and breathe normally. Observe your mind.
There are certain variations to the technique that you can try when you get used to the routine. If you breathe in for a count of 4, hold your breath for a count of 8 and then exhale for a count of 8. As you progress, you can try to hold your breath for a count of 16, and then exhale in 8 counts. Do not hold your breath for a long count if you have a history of high blood pressure. Just do the exercise as it has been described, allow your blood pressure to stabilize and get to normal and then proceed to the more intense practice.

Benefits of Alternate Nostril Breathing

As with any exercise, you will get maximum benefits from this practice when you do it regularly. This is a great way to revitalize your system. So anytime during the day when you feel ‘low’, get to a quiet corner and do a few rounds of this to get your mood up! A few minutes of alternate breathing, gets you prepped up and calms your mind down to face an interview or an exam.
Regular practice of alternate nostril breath has also been found to improve brain function. It improves clarity and enhances focus, bringing in equal amounts of oxygen to both hemispheres of the brain. People who suffer from anxiety or are easily agitated, report that this kind of breathing helps them to naturally and easily calm their minds. No wonder the yogis used to say that regulating the breath helps to control the mind!

Perhaps the greatest benefit that this pranayama brings is the harmonizing of the two sides of our brain. Bringing our brain to its full use and potential could be revolutionary in our lives! Of course, breathing in through just one nostril can also be done to activate a specific brain hemisphere. Try this out for yourself – the next time you want to calm down and relax, try breathing in only through your left nostril and see what happens. Alternately, when you are driving or focusing on something, breathe in through only the right nostril for a minute and notice the difference.

This technique is excellent for cleansing the lungs. Just a five minute practice every morning, will get rid of the stale air loaded with impurities from the bottom of the lungs. Most of us do not use our whole lungs for breathing – we take shallow breaths, using only the top part of the lungs. This is why stale air that if full of toxins and impurities stays collected in the lower lungs. This technique also helps you sleep better – calming down your nervous system and slowing down your heart rate. If you have trouble falling asleep, try lying on your right side, and breathe in only through the left nostril.

So there you have it. One easy way to address many problems. Try it out for yourself, and do it for at least a week regularly to experience the benefits. All you have to gain is better energy flow throughout your body, more oxygen helping all of your systems to work right, and in the long run, protection from many illnesses – which means that you save money too! Don’t forget to tell us how it goes!

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