A Mudra guide

 We all know how to make hand signals, be it a wave, come here, or even a middle finger, but mudras are hand signals with a deep spiritual meaning. In Sanskrit Mudra means ‘seal’, ‘mark’, or ‘gesture’. In Buddhism and Hinduism, they are symbolic gestures that are used either in ceremonies, dance, sculpture, or paintings and have been an integral part of many Hindu and Buddhist rituals. The specific origin of mudras is unknown, although they have been around for thousands of years, have appeared in various religions and traditions, and are used extensively in Yoga, meditation, dance, and across various disciplines. Most mudras are performed with the hands and fingers often in combination with movements of the wrists, elbows, and shoulders; some involve the entire body. They act to stimulate different parts of the body, which affects the flow of energy and even one’s mood. It is said that there exist close to 399 mudras, but I’m going to just touch on 10.  

Find a quiet place and sit comfortably, either cross-legged or in a chair, what’s most important is your spine is straight, and your hands and arms are relaxed. Close your eyes and breathe in slowly and deeply through your nose. Follow your natural breath as it moves through your body then gently place your hand into whatever mudra takes your fancy or if you like you can apply one with my other guides on Meditation, Mantra, or Chakra.

Adi Mudra (First Gesture) 

This is a symbolic and ritualistic hand gesture used to quiet the mind and nervous system. It also boosts the passage of oxygen to the brain, expands the lungs’ capacity, and can prevent snoring.                                       

A light fist is formed by placing the thumb at the base of your little finger and curling the other fingers over the thumb. Now, with your palms facing upwards lay your hands on your knees. 

  Jnana/Gyan Mudra (Psychic gesture of Knowledge) 

  This mudra is one of the most fundamental yoga mudras for increasing concentration and knowledge.                               

Fold your index fingers so that they touch the inside root of your thumbs. Straighten each hand’s remaining three fingers so that they are relaxed and slightly apart. Now, with the palms facing down, place the hands on the knees.  

Chinmaya Mudra (Awareness) 

This mudra is one of the most effective mudras for physical and mental well-being, enhances digestion, and improves the flow of energy in the body.                       

Form a ring with the thumb and forefinger, then curl the other three fingers into the palms of the hands. Now, with your palms facing upwards lay your hands on your knees.  

Prana Mudra (Life) 

This mudra is for balancing your body’s life element and is a crucial mudra because it activates your body’s energy. It strengthens your immune system, enhances your vision, and helps you feel more energised by combating lethargy. 

 Bend your ring and little fingers and place the tips of both of these fingers on the tip of your thumb. Straighten each hand’s other two fingers, keeping them relaxed and slightly apart. Now, with the palms facing up, place the hands on the knees.  

Prithvi Mudra (Earth) 

This mudra helps to increase blood circulation throughout the body. It improves patience, tolerance, and concentration. It also aids in strengthening weak and lean bones. Surprisingly, it aids in the increase of body weight, as well as the reduction of weakness and mental dullness. 

Make a connection between the tip of your ring finger and the tip of your thumb. Straighten each hand’s remaining three fingers so that they are relaxed and slightly apart. Now, with the palms facing up, place the hands on the knees.  

Shunya Mudra (Sky) 

This mudra is also known as the paradise mudra, and it can help you achieve a state of tranquillity if you practice it regularly. This mudra relieves earaches and helps with hearing due to age or disease. It also aids in the treatment of motion sickness and vertigo. 

Using your thumb, press the first phalanx of your middle finger. Straighten each hand’s remaining three fingers so that they are relaxed and slightly apart. Now, with the palms facing up, place the hands on the knees.  

Surya Mudra (Sun) 

This mudra is for balancing the sun aspect of your body. To make use of the sun’s vitality, you must do it first thing in the morning. It aids in the reduction of bad cholesterol and weight gain, anxiety, and digestion. 

Press your ring finger with the thumb. Straighten each hand’s remaining three fingers so that they are relaxed and slightly apart. Now, with the palms facing up, place the hands on the knees.  

Vayu Mudra (Air) 

This mudra is for balancing your body’s air element. It aids in the expulsion of excess air from the body, which relieves chest pain caused by trapped gas. 

Fold your index finger in half, and with the base of your thumb, press the second phalanx bone of your index finger. Straighten each hand’s remaining three fingers so that they are relaxed and slightly apart. Now, with the palms facing up, place the hands on the knees.  

Agni Mudra (Fire) 

This mudra is for balancing your body’s fire element, and should only be done on an empty stomach, in a sitting position early in the morning. It aids in the reduction of abdominal fat, increases metabolism, and manages obesity. It also aids digestion and strengthens the body. Avoid if you have indigestion or acidity.

Fold your ring finger and press the base of your thumb against the second phalanx bone. Straighten each hand’s remaining three fingers so that they are relaxed and slightly apart. Now, with the palms facing up, place the hands on the knees.  

Varun Mudra ( Water) 

This mudra is for balancing the water element and aids in the activation of fluid circulation in the body, keeping it hydrated. It can be used to improve one’s appearance, by allowing your body’s fluids to circulate freely and keeping your skin hydrated and glowing. It prevents pimples, treats skin illnesses, infections and relieves muscle problems. Avoid pressing the tip of the little finger against the nail, instead of balancing your body’s water level, this could create dehydration.       

Touch the tip of your little finger and the tip of your thumb together. Straighten each hand’s remaining three fingers so that they are relaxed and slightly apart. Now, with the palms facing up, place the hands on the knees.  

Well, that’s a wrap on my guide’s series. I hope whoever read these guides has found them simple and useful. 

 I’ll be back soon with a new series ‘What is …..?’ 

Lots of love


A Chakra guide

Sounds strange, doesn’t it? But Chakra (cakra in Sanskrit) means disk or wheel and were found in the Vedas, (a large body of religious texts originating in India) in the early traditions of Hinduism, between 1500 to 500 BCE. They are said to be shaped like flowers with many petals and are thought to be spinning disks of energy in specific parts of your body. The petals are associated with unique alphabetical sounds (phonemes) of the Sanskrit language. The vibration of each individual sound opens them up and the higher the frequency, the more in line they will be.  It’s important that they stay open and aligned, as they correspond to bundles of nerves, major organs, and areas of your energetic body that affect your emotional and physical well-being. Their numerous focal points are used in a variety of ancient meditation practices, collectively denominated as Tantra, the esoteric or inner traditions of Hinduism.  There are 114 different chakras in your body but I’m only going to touch on the seven main ones which are situated in your central channel. This channel runs from the base of your spine to the crown of your head, and each chakra with its different amount of petals, some facing upwards and some downwards has a specific place inside it. But I’m going to keep it simple and only talk about the specific place, and colour.


The root chakra – Muladhara 


This is the first and primary chakra, believed to be red in colour, located at the base of your spine, and represents the earth element. It is thought to affect how you connect to the world and control’s your feelings of survival, ambition, dependency, and stability. As the primary source of energy, its unbalance can lead to feelings of deep fear and insecurity that harm your drive to succeed, causing feelings of frustration and lack of purpose. When the root chakra is balanced, it is thought to create feelings of security, positivity, energy, independence, and strength.

The sacral chakra – Svadhishthana    

This second chakra is believed to be orange in colour, located below the navel and represents the water element. It is considered to be responsible for sexuality, creativity, intuitiveness, self-worth, compassion, and adaptability. When it is unstable, it’s thought to cause emotional outbursts, a lack of creativity, and sex-obsessed thoughts.

The solar plexus chakra –Manipura   

This third chakra also called the city of jewels, is believed to be yellow in colour, found at the solar plexus, between the ribcage and the navel, and represents the fire element. It is considered to be the centre of self-esteem and emotions like ego, anger, and aggression. It is thought to present itself on a physical level through, liver problems, or diabetes. On an emotional level, if the solar plexus chakra is imbalanced, it is believed to cause feelings of low self-esteem. When it’s balanced, it would become a source of energy, productivity, and confidence.

The heart chakra –Anahata  

This fourth chakra is believed to be green in colour, found at the heart, and lies in the middle of the cardiovascular system, and represents air. It directly affects the heart, lungs, chest, arms and hands, and connects the lower chakras to the higher ones. It is considered a link to compassion, trust, passion, and love for self and others. When it is out of balance, it is believed to cause anger, lack of trust, anxiety, jealousy, fear, and moodiness. An overactive heart chakra is thought to lead to high blood pressure, heart palpitations, and heart problems.

The throat chakra – Vishuddha   

This fifth chakra is believed to be blue in colour, found at the throat and represents ether or space. It is thought to control the neck, mouth, tongue, and other parts of the throat area.  It is tied to self-expression, communication, and confidence. Balancing the throat chakra is believed to regulate the flow of hormones and help inner thoughts to be spoken positively. 

The third eye chakra –Ajna  

This sixth chakra is the third eye or Ajna and is believed to be indigo in colour, set between the eyebrows, and has no elemental association. Often used as a focal point, it is believed to control your intellect, intuition, wisdom, and spiritual power. According to this belief system, an open and balanced third eye chakra allows you to notice the connections in this world and beyond. An underactive third eye chakra is thought to manifest as a headache, a migraine, or blurry vision. When balanced it is believed to free you from earthly attachments.

The crown chakra –Sahastrara 

The seventh chakra is at the top of the head, is believed to be white or purple in colour and is the highest of the seven main chakras. It is also known as the “thousand petal lotus” chakra and is considered the most spiritual of the central chakras because it is tied to inner wisdom and the cosmos. Opening the crown chakra is believed to connect a person to their higher self since it’s the place of spirituality, enlightenment, and energetic thoughts. . When unbalanced, the crown chakra is thought to influence depression, disconnection from the outside world, frustration, and destructive emotions.

In this article, I will explain a simple but effective way to get in touch with all seven chakras.

  • Finding a quiet place to sit, in nature would be ideal but a quiet, well-ventilated room will also be fine. Make sure you are wearing loose-fitting clothes, and then sit cross-legged. If this is not possible just sit in a comfortable position, on a chair or lay down. Most impotant is that your back is straight.
  • Close your eyes, take a deep, steady breath in through your nose, and as you exhale, let everything go and relax fully.            
  • Follow your natural breath for a few minutes,and allow your mind to go inside your body as your breath moves through it.   
  • Gently shift your attention to the bottom of the spine and visulise your central channel with a red spinning ball of energy. If you feel adventurous you could even visualise this ball of energy as a wheel or a red lotus flower with vibrating petals.                                    
  • Imagine it vibrating more and more ferocity as you breathe into it, and allow it to hum. 
  • Stay with this visualisation for as long as you can, keeping the light spinning and humming while you breathe into it.                         
  •  Slowly move up to the next chakra changing to that chakras colour, and doing the same visualisation. Stay with the visualisation for as long as you can.   
  • Continue through all the chakras, changing to their colour until you reach the crown chakra at the top of your head.   
  • Rest here as long as you can, keeping your breath normal and relaxed, as you start to feel the new sensations all over your body.   
  • When you feel the sesson is over, give love and gratitude to yourself for creating time to do this meditation.                                    
  •  Gently open your eyes and enjoy the new way you see the world and feel connected to the universe.

Have a great day.


A Mantra guide

We all talk to ourselves from time to time, be it in our heads or out loud, the nattering is there. So why not make it meaningful and do a mantra instead?  It could be very helpful especially when you are nervous about a situation and negative thoughts are stressing you out, or just to give your mind a rest from its constant projecting onto the outside world.  I’m sure, at times you’ve all repeated a sentence in your head over and over “Let me win the lottery,”  “Let me get the promotion/pay rise,” “Let the queue at the supermarket be short,” and so on. So why not make it more significant? Maybe the word mantra sounds a bit unusual or strange to some of you, but actually when broken down into two parts: “man,” means mind, and “tra,” means transport or vehicle, so in other words, a mantra is an instrument of the mind. A powerful sound or vibration that you can use to enter a deep state of calm or meditation. Some believe that uttering the sacred sound, syllable, word, or group of words, which are usually in Sanskrit, Pali, or Tibetan, to have religious, spiritual, or magical powers. and we could all do with some of that!

Usually, a mantra is repeated with a mala or rosary with 108 beads. Why 108 you may ask? According to Ayurveda, we have 108 marma points (vital points of life forces) in our body and each chant represents a journey from our material self towards our highest spiritual self. This helps to bring the body in harmony with the vibrations of the universe. Once you are feeling this connection I’m sure anything and everything has a possibility to manifest. Imagine standing in the long line in the supermarket and instead of being angry with the woman with the overloaded trolley in front of you; you just chant your mantra and enjoy the experience of all the action, sounds, and life around you. Imagine the checkout person when you greet him or her with a loving smile instead of a grumpy, impatient face.

What is a mala?

Anything with 108 beads will be fine.

Mala is a Sanskrit word meaning garland and usually consists of a string of 108 beads, that are used for keeping count during specific meditations. They are powerful tools that can help guide and enhance mindfulness, and keep you focused on the mantra. Many people, who use a mala to meditate with a recitation of mantra, find that they help increase concentration and promote a more beneficial meditation experience. A mala doesn’t need to include gemstones or other expensive materials to work well for you, anything with 108 beads will be fine. But this doesn’t mean you cannot recite a mantra without a mala. Remember the supermarket queue?

There are many different types of mantras and the uttering of these words is intended to use your thoughts as a guide to concentration and activates a particular kind of energy in a different part of the body. Without this necessary awareness, just repeating the sound only brings dullness to the mind. Any repetition of a sound always makes your mind dull. But when it is done with proper awareness, and an exact understanding of what it is, a mantra could be very powerful. But certain mantras should not be chanted without an empowerment or initiation from a qualified master, which grants permission and gives access to the benefits of the mantra. In this article, I’m just going to talk about the king of mantras, Om (pronounced Ah-Uu-Mm). This is a sacred Hindu symbol and is considered by many ancient philosophical texts to be the sound of the universe resonating at 432 Hz. It is the entire world in just one intensely pleasurable sound. When chanted it symbolically and physically tunes us into that sound and acknowledges our connection to everything in the world and universe.

Ready to give it a try?

  • If you can find a calm, quiet place outside in nature, that would be perfect. But if that’s not possible then a quiet room will also be fine. For maximum comfort, sit cross-legged, but if that is difficult for you, then sit as best as you can or if necessary, sit in a chair. What is most important is that you keep your back erect. Make sure you are wearing loose-fitting clothes in light shades, this can help you feel free and not held, back. and allows the channels of your body to flow freely.
  • Close your eyes, relax your jaw and let your lips be slighty apart and loose. Roll your shoulders back, then turn your left palm up and keep it close to your navel, then place the back of your right hand onto your left palm. Maintain this position for the rest of the steps.
  • Make sure both your body and mind are at ease, as you follow your natural breath. Feel the vibrations that run through the body.
  • Once you have paid attention to the sounds and vibrations in your body, slowly and deeply breathe in through your nose and mentally count to five, exhale through your nose, and count to seven. Repeate this 3 times. (As you practice more, you will be able to breathe in and breathe out for longer durations).
  • Then as you breathe out for the third time, chant “AAAAA” and feel your abdomen vibrating.
  • Breathe out completely and simply relax.
  • Then take a deep and slow inhalation. As you breathe out, chant “UUUUU” and feel your chest and neck vibrating.
  • Breathe out completely and relax again.
  • Take a slow and deep inhalation. As you breathe out, chant “MMMMM” and feel your head and neck vibrating.
  • Breathe out completely and simply relax once more.
  • Take a slow and deep inhalation, and as you breathe out chant all three sound together in one beautiful AAAAAUUUUUMM . You should spend 80 per cent of your chanting “A-U,” and only 20 per cent should be devoted to the syllable, “M.”
  • Relax and feel the vibration.
  • Following your natural breath, inhale and exhale AAAAAUUUUUMM. (Repete).
  • The chanting of Om (AUM) should initially be done three times. Slowly, you can work your way up to nine times.
  • When you have finished, breathe normally, spend five minues following the inhalation and exhalation of the breath, and feel your body energised and tuned in with nature.
  • Open your eyes and take in your whole environment. notice how your sences have woken up and everything around you has come alive and vibrant. You will see colours where you’ve never noticed them before ,smell the sweet air, and hear the birds sing. Gently stand up and feel the earth under your feet as you walk, now you are at one with the universe not just passing through.

I hope this is helpful and you enjoy it.

Have a great day.


A yoga asana guide

Yoga is not about twisting your body up like a piece of spaghetti but maintaining awareness in the movements and can be practiced by anyone, whatever state of mind or health. The word ‘Yoga’ is derived from the Sanskrit word ‘Yuj’, signifying to join, combine or unite, by bringing together the body and mind in harmony through breath control, simple meditation, and the adoption of specific bodily postures. This makes for a strong, clear mind which decreases stress, anxiety, and the need for external validation. So of course, brings about healthy and sound living. In addition, a clear mind increases self-awareness, focus, disciple, physical health, emotional stability, memory, and the ability to empathize with others. It can improve posture, increase flexibility, build muscle strength, boosts metabolism, helps in lowering blood sugar, increase blood flow, keep diseases at bay, and increase self-esteem. So why are you not doing it? I would like to introduce you to a quick but very effective set of postures to get you started, called Surya Namaskar, or Sun Salutation.

We all know how important the sun is and love to feel its heat and vitamin D, but it’s more than just that. The sun has been a source of both spirituality and vitality on the earth since time immemorial. Its significance can be traced from Mayan, Egyptian, Aztec, Tibetan, and Indian civilizations to the ones that emerged later. Spirituality apart, there is also a logical reason behind the sun’s prominence.

Scientifically, the sun radiates energy to the earth in the form of heat and sunlight – without which life couldn’t have sustained here. Sparing just 10 minutes for yourself every day can have dramatic changes in various aspects of your life. Hence, Surya Namaskar, or Sun Salutation, has a range of effects on the human body. There are many variations of the sun salutation, but usually, it consists of 12 postures for the 12 cycles of the sun. I will explain one cycle where in step 4, the left leg goes back first, and in step 9, the right leg comes forward, and in the second set in step 4, the right leg goes back and in step 9, the left leg comes forward. Confused? All it means is steps 4 and 9 are the same posture. So you work one side of the body in the first set and the other side in the second, which makes one cycle and your goal is to do six. Don’t force anything, listen to your body and flow with the movement. Maybe at first, you are unable to do the full posture but I’m sure after a week you’ll be jumping out of bed and whacking out a sun salutation in 10 minutes.

Surya namaskar or sun salutation.

1. Pranamasana (Prayer pose)

Stand straight, keep your feet together and balance your weight equally on both feet. Expand your chest and relax your shoulders. As you breathe in, lift both arms up from the sides, and as you exhale, bring your palms together in front of the chest in a prayer position.

2. Hastauttanasana (Raised arms pose)  

Breathing in, lift the arms up and back, keeping the biceps close to the ears. In this pose, the effort is to stretch the whole body up from the heels to the tips of the fingers.

Tip to deepen this yoga stretch: You may push the pelvis forward a little bit. Ensure you’re reaching up with the fingers rather than trying to bend backward.

3. Hastapadasana (Standing forward bend)

Breathing out, bend forward from the waist keeping the spine erect. As you exhale completely, bring the hands down to the floor beside the feet.

Tip to deepen this yoga stretch: You may bend the knees, if necessary, to bring the palms down to the floor. It’s a good idea to keep the hands fixed in this position and not move them until we finish the sequence.

4. Ashwa Sanchalanasana (Equestrian pose)

Breathing in, push your left leg back, as far back as possible. Bring the left knee to the floor and look up.

Tip to deepen this stretch: Ensure that the right foot is exactly in between the palms.

5. Dandasana (Stick pose)

As you breathe in, take the right leg back and bring the whole body in a straight line. Try to bring your whole body close to the floor, by bending the elbows.

6. Ashtanga Namaskara (Salute with eight parts or points)

Gently bring your knees down to the floor and exhale. Take the hips back slightly, slide forward, rest your chest and chin on the floor. Raise your posterior a little bit. The two hands, two feet, two knees, chest, and chin (eight parts of the body) should touch the floor.

7. Bhujangasana (Cobra pose)      

Slide forward raise the chest up. You may keep your elbows bent in this pose, keep your shoulders away from the ears. Look up at the ceiling.                                        

Tip to deepen this yoga stretch: As you inhale, make a gentle effort to push the chest forward; as you exhale, make a gentle effort to push the navel down. Tuck the toes under. Ensure you’re stretching just as much as you can and not forcing your body.

8. Adho Mukha Svanasana (Downward facing dog pose)

 Breathing out, lift the hips and the tail bone up to bring the body into an inverted V pose.

Tip to deepen this yoga stretch: If possible, try and keep the heels on the ground and make a gentle effort to lift the tail bone up, going deeper into the stretch.

9. Ashwa Sanchalanasana (Equestrian pose)

Breathing in, bring the right foot forward in between the two hands. The left knee goes down on the floor. Press the hips down and look up.

Tip to deepen this yoga stretch: Place the right foot exactly between the two hands and the right calf perpendicular to the floor. In this position, make a gentle effort to push the hips down towards the floor, to deepen the stretch.

Step 10. Hastapadasana (Standing forward bend)

Breathing out, bring the left foot forward. Keep the palms on the floor, bend the knees if necessary.                                                                                                                                                 

  Tip to deepen this yoga stretch: Gently straighten the knees, and if you can, try and touch your nose to the knees. Keep breathing.

11. Hastauttanasana (Raised arms pose)

Breathing in, and slowly roll the spine up. Raising your hands above your head, pushing the hips slightly outward.

Tip to deepen this yoga stretch: Ensure that your biceps are beside your ears. The idea is to stretch up more rather than stretch backward.

12. Tadasana (Mountain Pose)

As you exhale, first straighten the body, then bring the arms down into prayer position. Relax in this position and observe the sensations in your body.

Congratulations!! You have just completed one set of Surya Namaskar. Now balance your body with another set bringing the right leg back first in step 4, and the left leg forward in step 9. If you manage to do one cycle today, that is brilliant, then tomorrow go for 2 cycles and so on until you can complete the full 6. Remember do not force or rush anything, and just let your body flow. Once you have finished, lay down flat on your back, close your eyes and relax your whole body for a few minutes as new energy revitalises your whole being. Roll over onto your side and gently push yourself up into a sitting position. give yourself a big hug for taking 10 minutes to make a better start to your day.

Have a great day.


A Pranayama guide.

From the Sanskrit words Prana (“life force” or “vital energy”) and Yama (“control”), the practice dates back to ancient India since 700 BCE. It includes a variety of breathing patterns and techniques that boost both your physical—respiratory, cardiovascular, metabolic, and your emotional—stress, anxiety, concentration health. Our breathing directly affects our nervous system via the vagus nerve, which governs our fight or flight and rest and relaxation responses as well as our cardiovascular, respiratory, and digestive systems. In other words, the way we breathe controls just about everything. You can also find Prana in food such as ash gourd, honey, coconut, whole grains, beans, lentils, millet, nuts, seeds, fresh fruits, dried fruits, and fresh vegetables.

The benefits of pranayama.

The immune system: Deep breathing activates our digestive tracts, where as much as 80 percent of our immune tissue lives. Breath retention significantly increases our count of white blood cells, which are the first to attack infections and viruses.

Reduce anxiety and depression:  When activated, it increases levels of Gamma-aminobutyric acid, (GABA) in our bodies, the neurotransmitter that helps us unwind.

Respiratory: Breath control improves lung function and capacity for healthy individuals and those with asthma and chronic bronchitis.

Digestive: IBS, diarrhea, and hyperacidity are disorders closely linked to brain activity. These symptoms subside with consistent breathing practice, thanks to its calming effects.

Cardiovascular: pranayama has an immediate and positive effect on your blood circulation, heart rate and blood pressure.

Sinuses: Certain techniques help clear our nasal cavity and create ventilation, improving allergies, sinus infections, congestion, and sinus headaches.

Sleep: Deep breathing slows your heart rate and relaxes your mind. This improves sleep quality and combats insomnia.

Weight loss: Deep and forceful breathing quickens our metabolism and activates abdominal muscles increasing oxygen supply.

Skincare: When we hold an inhale, retained breath supplies oxygen to our skin cells. This increases the blood thrush and detoxifies our blood, improving skin appearance and preventing premature ageing like wrinkles and sunspots.

How to practice pranayama?

The best times to practice Pranayama is with an empty stomach either at dawn, before sunset or sleep, when you’re stressed or tensed. Try to commit to 10 or 15 minutes a day, and slowly build up to longer sessions, but you must listen to your body. Never force or rush the breath, unless it’s part of the technique of course, and if you feel dizzy stop and rest. Loose-fitting cotton clothes allow freedom of movement during the practice.

There are a host of different practices and styles of pranayama, which include lots of techniques and breathing patterns, each with their own unique benefits. The seven different techniques for beginners are Kumbhaka, Kapalabhati, Nadi Shodhana, Alternate Nostril Kapalabhati, Dirgha Pranayama, Ujjayi Pranayama, Simha Pranayama. I will just touch on the first three essential techniques.

First, it would be a good idea to blow your nose, then sit in a comfortable, relaxed position, some Pranayama techniques allow you to lay down. Follow the rhythm of your natural breath then when you’re ready, begin your Pranayama session.

Relax and follow your natural breath.

1. Kumbhaka or “Full Breath Retention”
Best for: An immune boost

“Full breath retention” presents dozens of benefits, like increased lung capacity, brain tissue regeneration, and reduced inflammation. Most importantly, though, it increases oxygen and CO2 levels in our bodies, nourishing our white blood cells to fight off infection and viruses.

Sit or lay down comfortably.  Begin following a 1-1-2 pattern. For example, inhale through the nose for 5 counts, hold for 5 counts, exhale through the nose for 10 counts. With practice, begin to increase the retention (hold) for a ratio of 1-2-2 or 1-3-2.  Soon it will become easier to inhale for 5, hold for 10, exhale for 10. When you feel ready you can increase to inhaling for 5, holding for 15, exhaling for 10, and so on.

2. Kapalabhati or “Skull-Shining Breath”
Best for: Reviving energy and giving you a little glow

Also known as “breath of fire,” this model improves concentration, aids in digestive functioning, quickens our metabolism, and gives you that glowy complexion. It also warms the body, which is good if you’re in a cold place. Practice this one when you need a little energy reboot. 

Sit comfortably (cross-legged or on your knees), resting your hands on your thighs. Inhale and exhale fully through the nose. Then, inhale halfway and begin forcefully exhaling in short bursts through the nose, pulling your belly in. You could place a hand on your belly to feel contraction and expansion. Continue for 20-30 exhales, then breathe in fully, retaining the breath for as long as you can, and finally, slowly exhaling. Repeat the cycle for 10 to 15 minutes, on your last breath bring your right thumb up to your right nostril and exhale through the left nostril.

3. Nadi Shodhana or “Alternate Nostril Breathing”
Best for: Unwinding before bed or trying to calm down

 This technique can lower your heart rate and blood pressure. Try it when you are angry, frustrated, or fed up, just before bed or even before you eat. There are many variations of breathing and nostril holding, but here I will explain the easiest one. 

Sit, with crossed legs or on your knees, or lie comfortably. Bring your right thumb to your right nostril and your ring and pinky fingers to your left. Your index and middle fingers can rest on the bridge of your nose or fold them down toward your thumb. Exhale completely. Using your thumb, press on the right nostril and inhale through the left, then exhale through the left. Close the left nostril, and inhale through the right and exhale through the right to complete one cycle. Repeat for 10-12 cycles.

Take your time, relax and enjoy the flow as prana fills your body with vital energy. Soon you will become more calm and happy, and you will start to notice the beauty and colours of all the things around you that you never noticed before, as you become more mindful and conscious.

Breathe and enjoy.