Lunchtime, for many of us, is no longer is a simple midday meal. It is frequently a power hour where we run errands, do a (not-too-sweaty) workout, or squeeze in "maintenance" appointments such as haircuts, manicures, etc.
Welcome to our "Lunchtime Beauty" series, where we aim to help you with just that: ideas to fill up that break time in a way that might help with your holistic beauty goals. Today, we aim to bring a modicum of peace and stillness to your day with 10 minutes of practice of one of the limbs of Yoga that can be performed at your desk.
Yoga is a collection of physical, mental and spiritual techniques and practices aimed at integrating the mind and body. In the US, we typically associate yoga with flexible people contorting themselves into poses that look impossible and inaccessible. The true goal of yoga isn’t to bend your body into impressive positions, but to find stillness in the midst of turbulence and chaos. Of the eight limbs of yoga, today we will focus on the fourth limb, pranayama, or breath control.
Pranayama, literally translated as life force extension, is thought to rejuvenate the body recognizing the connection between the breath, emotions and the mind. Nadi Shodana, alternate nasal breathing, is a breathing exercise that brings calm, joy and peace to the mind just with a few minutes of practice.
Start by sitting upright at your desk. Close your eyes and begin by taking a full and deep inhalation followed by a slow exhalation. In this practice, you will alternate breathing in and out through one nostril before switching to the other nostril.
Starting with the right side, raise your right hand and fold your index and middle finger into your palm. Place your thumb on the right nostril to close the nostril.
Exhale gently through the left nostril and, while keeping the right nostril closed, inhale through the left nostril. Hold the inhale, while you close the left nostril with the ring finger and release the thumb from your right nostril.
Exhale through the right nostril and then inhale through the right nostril. Hold the inhale, while you release the left nostril and close the right nostril with the thumb. Exhale through the left nostril and then breathe through the right nostril.
Continue this alternation of breathing through your left and right nostril for 5 minutes.
After your last round of alternative nasal breathing. Fold your hands on top of one another and place on your desk. Lay your head down on your folded hand pillow and do nothing. That is right…do nothing. Just lay there on your hand pillow and stay present (mindful) in the moment for the next five minutes.
After five minutes, open your eyes and get ready to finish the rest of your day.
By Melynda Barnes, M.D. - Co-Founder and Facial Plastic Surgeon