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How to Breathe in Preparation for Meditation

Learn breathing exercises to prepare for meditation from yoga instructor Lisa Dawn Angerame in this Howcast video.

Transcript

Hi. I'm Lisa Dawn Angerame. I'm one of the Founding Partners of Nava NYC, a collective of nine yoga and meditation teachers in New York City. Our website is www.navaNYC.com. Today I'll be talking to you about meditation.

Breathing exercises are a great way to prepare for meditation. Most of the time we're not paying attention to our breath. The diaphragm muscle separates our belly, our stomach cavity from our upper body and it gets really shallow during the day. So when we take the time to pay attention to the breath, and we deepen it we get more exposure in our lungs to oxygen and we clear out our passages and we open ourselves up to meditation.

There are three kinds of breathing practices that we're going to talk about today. The first one is called sama vritti pranayama. Sama means same, vritti means movement, so it's the same movement. So you;re inhaling at the same pace that you are exhaling. Like this. Inhale, two, three, four, exhale, two, three, four. Inhale two, three, four, exhale, two, three, four.

Another breathing practice you can employ before meditation is nadi shodhana, it means alternate nostril breathing. You breath in through one nostril and breathe out through the other side. Then you breathe back in through the other side and back out through the first side and it balances out the sides of your brain and brings a sense of calm to the body. You close off one nostril with your thumb and the other nostril with your ring finger and it looks like this.

The third kind of kaneyama practice is called kapalabhati. And kapalabhati in Sanskrit means skull shining breath. And you're actively pumping your diaphragm up against the bottom of your heart in order to bring more oxygen up there and to eliminate stale gases from the lungs. So it looks like this.

Breathing practices are a great way to prepare for meditation. During the day most of us aren't paying attention to our breath and it gets really short and you can see by the way I'm talking, I'm not even breathing. But when I start to feel conscious of my breath, I start to slow down the way I'm speaking. I take some time to get some oxygen in, which calms me down and enables me to focus on what I'm doing. Same thing when you're practicing meditation. You want to be clear and open.

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