Two Simple Practices That Support Diabetes Care

Doing breath-work, or controlled breathing can make a tremendous difference in our sense of well-being, and elevate our energy for managing diabetes, and other life challenges.

Breath-work also reduces the chronic stress that elevates blood sugar, and compromises the health of our cardiovascular system.

Controlled breathing calms the nerves, slows our heart rate, and relaxes muscles. It increases levels of mood-lifting endorphins. Breathing consciously strengthens our immune system, lowers blood pressure, releases toxins from the body, and promotes restful sleep.

So, here are two simple breathing practices that can enhance the quality of our lives. One is designed to generate calm, the other clears and enlivens body and mind.

Box Breathing For Calm

The beauty of Box Breathing is its symmetry, and simplicity. If we draw a box on a piece of paper it has four sides, and each side is equal. In Box Breathing, we breathe to the count of four so each part of the breath cycle is equally long:

  1. Sit comfortably, resting your palms on your thighs, or lay down; take a few relaxed, deep breaths to center yourself.
  2. With mouth closed, inhale to the silent count of four, then hold your breath in as you count to four.
  3. Exhale while counting to four, then hold your breath out to the count of four.
  4. Repeat steps #2 and #3 as many times as you wish. Remember to keep the counting pace steady.

Box Breathing is a great way to settle mind and body during the day, or relax into a good night’s sleep.

The Stimulating Kapalabhati Breath

Kapalabhati (ka pall a bah tee) is a Sanskrit word that means “to shine the brain.” The Kapalabhati Breath is an effective way to warm and wake up the body, stimulate the immune system, and clear the cobwebs from our mind:

  1. Sit comfortably, resting your palms on your thighs; take a few relaxed, deep breaths to center yourself.
  2. Keeping the mouth closed, inhale briefly, and then begin a series of very short exhales through the nose. To exhale, forcefully push air out of the lungs by sharply pulling the abdomen (diaphragm) in.
  3. After each exhale, relax the abdomen and inhalation will occur naturally, without effort. Each breath cycle (one exhale and inhale) takes only about a second. Continue for 10 to 20 breath cycles, then inhale fully through the nose, and exhale through the mouth. Observe how you feel.
  4. Repeat steps #2 and #3 a few times.

For a brief, clear demonstration of Kapalabhati Breath watch Namaste TV’s tutorial on Youtube (link provided below).

“The practice is simply this: keep coming back to your breath during the day. This will give your mind a steadiness and your breath a gracefulness….” ~ Rodney Yee, Yoga: The Poetry of the Body

Sources: Lena Schmidt/Chopra; Kapalabhati Breath turorial/YouTube; Mercola
Photo credit: kim

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