yoga blog by yoga lover in Bicester

Nadi Shodhana (Alternate Nostril Breathing)

This can be a lovely calming pranayama (breathing technique) to work with.

Nadi means ‘channel’ – the channel through which your subtle energy (Prana) flows.

Shodhana means ‘purification’.

So when you practice this technique, you are undertaking a Pranayama that purifies the Nadis – which is why you feel so lovely and calm afterwards.

If you take time to notice, you may be aware that you are breathing more strongly thru one nostril than the other at various times of the day – so taking in prana predominantly thru one channel.  By using a practice that balances the breath, it is said to balance activity in the right and left hemispheres of the brain which in turn can calm the storms of the mind.

There are may different ways you can do the practice …. I’ll list some of them here.  It’s always a good idea to spend a few moments sitting  comfortably, spine upright and just tuning into your breath before you commence:

  1.  Using your left thumb, block your left nostril and breathe in and out through your right six time.  Then using your right thumb, block your right nostril, and breath in and out through your left six times.
  2. Using your right thumb, block your right nostril, breath in thru your left.  Then, using your left finger (right hand) block left nostril, and having released your thumb, breathe out thru the right nostril. Breathe in thru your right nostril, then close it with thumb, release fourth finger and breathe out thru left.  Repeat for a couple of minutes.  Using this technique, you can also add a short pause between the inhalations and exhalations to slow the breath down more.

There are various way you can use your fingers and thumbs – I’ve just chosen a nice simple way that suits most people.  If you want to experiment with other ways, using your right hand, tuck 2nd and 3rd fingers into your palm – then use thumb and 4th finger as above.  Or alternatively, let your 2nd and 3rd fingers rest on the bridge of your nose and use thumb and 4th finger as above – this method helps you focus on your Anja Chakra which can deepen the practice, but some people don’t like the feel of the hands over the face – find it a bit claustrophobic.

If you have a cold, it is not a good idea to do this practice.

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Cruelty Free?

As a yoga lover, I try to follow the principles of the Yamas and Niyamas in my daily life.

Ahimsa – non violence –physical, mental and emotional is one of the Yamas, and one way I apply it, is by aiming to always buy cruelty free cosmetics.

You might think that the big brand names would make this easy …. but that is definitely NOT the case.   A quick google search on using something like ‘Does Clinique test on animals’ will reveal that yes, they do … because they want to sell their product in China where animal testing is still required.  So most of the big corporates will not be offering you truly ‘cruelty free’ cosmetic or skin care products.  You need to read the corporate PR with a sharp eye …. look for phrases like ‘except where required by law’ ….. it will be there for almost all the big names.  They choose to put commercial profits above animal welfare.

Big corporates have also bought up companies like ‘Body Shop’ which was founded on the ethical principles of Anita Roddick.  Now the company is just a brand within the L’Oreal group.  Whilst L’Oreal state that Body Shop products are not tested on animals, every time you buy a Body Shop product you are contributing profits to the parent company.  Try the google search I suggested above for L’Oreal. Or Esteee Lauder ……do you still want to buy products from brands owned by those organisations?

I now source my cosmetics and skin care products from a little company called Tropic.   Based in Surrey, all their products are vegan friendly … no animal testing, no animal based ingredients.  And everything looks, feels and smells gorgeous too.

So what choice will you make?

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