White House Pilates Bride-to-Be Tips

Just Breathe!

We all get stressed out. Planning your wedding can bring out the unwanted bridezilla in even the most appreciative, down to earth and logical lady. Here is a plan to get back to yourself and take a moment to re-center.

Left nostril for calming
Right nostril for energizing

Pranayama: A yoga inspired meditation breathing technique will have you feeling calm, refreshed, and energized.

The 12 Amazing Benefits of Alternate Nostril Breathing:

1. Revitalizes: A few rounds of alternate nostril breathing is a quick pick me up if you are feeling flat, tired or even stressed. It provides your body with a much needed dose of extra energy.
2. Improves brain function: When you mind is dull – concentration and clarity is poor. Alternate nostril breathing brings equal amounts of oxygen to both sides of the brain for improved brain function.
3. Cleanses your lungs: A daily 5 minute practice morning and night of alternate nostril breathing is great way to remove stale air and impurities from the bottom of your lungs. Did you know that we hold 70% of our toxic waste in our lungs?!
4. Calms an agitated mind: A few minutes of focused alternate nostril breathing is helpful to calm an “over thinking” mind. The ancient yogis believe that if you can regulate your breath, then you can control your mind.
5. Merges the left “thinking” brain and right “feeling" brain: Alternate nostril breathing optimizes both sides of your brain so you can access your whole brain.
6. Encourages a calm emotional state: In times of emotional distress and upset, a few rounds of mindful nostril breathing will soften the intensity of over reactive emotional states. The longer you practice, the more stable your thinking, and the calmer your emotions will become.
7. Improves sleep: If you can’t sleep at night lay on your right hand side, gently close your right nostril with your right thumb and breath through your left nostril. This will activate your parasympathetic nervous system which will calm you down and slow your heart rate.
8. Great preparation for meditation/sleep: Alternate nostril breathing is a simple little trick that can be practiced for a few minutes before you begin your meditation practice. It’s a very easy way to help you find your meditation groove.
9. Excellent for your nervous system: By focusing on your breath and deepening it, your brain will register this message and trigger the parasympathetic nervous system. You have effectively switched your nervous system from a stressed response, into a relaxation response. Single left nostril breathing (by closing your right nostril) will direct the flow of oxygen and energy to the right hemisphere of your brain, allowing once again, for the parasympathetic nervous system to be switched on.
10. Regulates the cooling and warming cycles of the body: Left nostril is feminine, nurturing, calm and cooling. Right nostril is masculine, heat, competitive and force. Favouring one nostril more than the other can effect the heat or coolness of your body.
11. Clears and boosts your energy channels: Slightly forced alternate nostril breathing improves and directs the flow of energy throughout your body – preventing sluggishness. It oxygenates your blood and allows the energy (Prana) in your body to be strong and flowing.
12. Promotes rest and relaxation: A restless mind cannot relax. Alternate nostril breathing melts away an imbalances between the right and left hemisphere of your brain and calms your thoughts.

Alternate Nostril Breathing Exercise - find a quiet place to sit comfortably, close your eyes and follow these easy steps:
Step 1: Place your middle finger between your eyebrows. Use your right thumb to close off right nostril.

Step 2: Inhale slowly through your left nostril

Step 3: Pause for a second, hold the breath in

Step 4: Now close the left nostril with your ring finger and release thumb off the right nostril

Step 5: Exhale through your right nostril

Step 6: Now, inhale through your right nostril

Step 7: Pause again

Step 8: Use thumb to close of right nostril

Step 9: Breathe out through the left nostril

Step 10: This is one round. Start slowly with 1 or 2 rounds and gradually increase to 5 or 6 rounds. Never force. Sit quietly for a few moments after you have finished.

Caution: Do not hold your breath if you have high blood pressure. More advanced methods of pranayama (alternate nostril breathing) need to be practiced with an experienced practitioner. Practicing on an empty stomach is preferred.

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