Incorporating breathing exercises and yoga into your post-workout supports physical and mental recovery. Photo Courtesy: iStock
When it comes to yogic tradition, the importance of breath cannot be overstated. From decreasing stress to relieving pain - breathing exercises provide a range of health benefits. For those who seek new ways to effectively cool down post-workout, breathing exercises can be extremely helpful. "Incorporating breathing exercises and yoga into your post-workout routine allows for a gradual transition from a state of heightened activity to a state of relaxation and recovery. It supports physical and mental recovery, promotes overall well-being, and helps you feel refreshed after your workout," says certified yoga instructor and JetSynthesys' ThinkRight.me Master Sneha Desai.
She further says that improved blood circulation, enhanced relaxation, and a stronger mind-body connection can be achieved through breathing exercises, and yogic stretches.
Below, she shares seven exercises that are easy to follow and will help you regulate your breath post-workout.
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1. Belly breathing or candle blows
During this exercise, you breathe in from the nose and count till 5 in your mind.
You will count till 10 when you breathe out from the mouth. Remember it is just like you blowing candles but slowly.
Initially one can start with a ratio of 3:6 and slowly keep on increasing the number to a comfortable and relaxed breath. This can be done standing or sitting in a place or lying down.
2. Anulom Vilom or alternate nostril breathing
Sit in a comfortable position keeping your spine straight.
Close one nostril with your finger and inhale through the other.
Hold your breath briefly then exhale through the opposite nostril.
Repeat for several minutes.
One can count the breath in, hold and breathe out with a ratio of 3:3:6 or 5:5:10. This can be done for a minimum of 5 minutes or at least 5 rounds.
Certified yoga instructor Sneha Desai recommends incorporating breathing exercises post workout. Photo courtesy: JetSynthesys' ThinkRight.me
Inhale deeply through your throat and exhale through your throat, creating a slight constriction in the back of your throat.
This produces a sound like the ocean or a snoring noise. Some people may feel an irritation in the throat but this has proven to help hold on to the posture in yin yoga also. This exercise can be done for a minimum of 5 minutes or at least 5 rounds.
4. Makarasana or crocodile pose
Lie down on your stomach, with your legs comfortably wide apart, turning your foot outwards, palm over each other and forehead on your palms.
Your stomach will be pressed down which allows you to slow your breath and practice diaphragmatic breathing which is one of the most used pranayama to hold on to any postures for a longer time. Crocodile pose can be done for a minimum of 5 minutes.
5. Twisting the body from side to side
Sitting or lying on the back, twist your body to any one side and take deep breaths allowing your body to totally relax.
While doing this particular twisting and relaxing with the breath helps the body to relieve any kinds of injuries in the lower back and lumber area.
Remember it is vital that breathing should be done deeply and slowly. This can be done twice on both the sides holding it for 30 seconds.
6. Kapotasana or pigeon pose
The pigeon pose is one of the most relaxing postures which will relax your body. You can use blankets or a cushion under your hips for support if needed.
Begin on your hands and knees in a table-top position.
Slowly bring your right knee toward your right wrist and your right foot toward your left wrist.
Slide your left leg back extending it behind you.
Lower your upper body down onto your forearms, resting your forehead on the mat.
If you're comfortable here, you can inch your hands forward and lower your chest towards the ground.
Breathe deeply into the stretch for 5 to 10 breaths or allow yourself to be in this posture for at least 2 minutes on each leg initially and then gradually increase the time. Repeat on the other side.
7. Om chanting
Sit down in a comfortable posture, and take deep breaths. While exhaling the next breath, start chanting "Om" and feel the vibrations through your body. Each and every part will reverberate with the energy. Try to increase the gap between every "Om" when the breath slows down. It is advisable to practice this for a minimum of 5 minutes or at least 5 rounds.
By incorporating these practices into your post-workout routine, you will find effective improvement in the recovery process, overall well-being and feel refreshed.