Friday, February 14, 2014 - Posted by Jess at 2:58 PM
 Happy Valentine's Day friends! I know this day can be 50/50 for people. Some love it and some not so much.  So for you with the "not so much", and of course, you with the love, I thought I would share a practice that could help brighten up your day!

Spring is right around the corner; and the end of winter can feel like a life time away. I hear alot of people talk of the winter blues, and I myself (originally from the midwest) know all about it. This in between of winter/spring can be a challenging time mentally and physically if we don't work with the season. According to Ayurveda, the sister science to Yoga; this is Kapha Season (pronounced Cup-pa).(to learn more about Kapha and the other doshas your friendly search engine would be happy to find you all you need to know!)  Kapha season is the season for cold, moist and heavy. Because during winter we tend to stay indoors more, eat more grounding foods to insulate from the cold, and generally just not be as active; we tend to accumulate Kapha in the body and we can get too much. This leads to imbalance. We may feel depressed, lethargic, lazy, build up of mucus (spring colds, and allergies) and feel just plain stuck. So in order to find balance we need to do the opposite of those qualities. We need to get moving!! Eat lighter foods and get the energy back into our beings!  So this simple practice should help get the fire started!

The practice is called Breath of Joy. It is a Tibetan pranayama (breathing practice) to help bring more oxygen/energy into the body which in yoga is called prana. Prana is what gives us life. With out it we are just a bag of bones. So this practice will bring lots of prana in giving you a rush of joy and energy. This you can practice by itself or add to your regular yoga practice. It's a great way to start the day or when you have the afternoon slump.

You begin standing with feet hip width apart. Take a quick sip of an inhale, through your nose, as you bring your arms over head. Then another sip of an inhale as you open your arms wide. Now one last inhale as you bring your arms over head again. Exhale as you bend your knees and fold forward swinging your arms back behind you. As you exhale, saying "HA" through the mouth to let go of all that stale air in the lungs. Then doing that all again! Repeat several time, maybe even 20! Whatever feels good! ( just listen to your body, making sure you are not feeling dizzy. If so stop and stand in Tadasana (mountain pose) breathing deeply)  After several rounds stand in Tadasana to feel the effects throughout your body. Feeling your Joy!

                                                               BREATH OF JOY
                                                            Inhale through the nose

                                                             Inhale through the nose

                                                              Inhale through the nose

                                                        Exhale through the mouth "HA"

Benefits to this practice are:

-Inhalation brings lots of oxygen into the body and brain
-Exhalation helps to detoxify the respiratory system
-With the movement of the arms it encourages a deeper inhalation
-Strengthens arms and shoulders
-Energizes your entire being
-Gives you a feeling of joy
-Makes you smile


-If you have low blood pressure, practice slowly and bend less deeply on the final exhalation. Practice less repetitions.
-This practice is not recommended for anyone with untreated high blood pressure, heart disease or any injuries of the head (such as migraines, glaucoma, or vertigo)
-If you have low back pain minimize torso movement and go at a more slow and gentle pace.
-If you get dizzy move slowly and do not bring your head low.

As you practice let the feeling of playfulness enter the pose. Allowing the the full expression of Joy.  Winter won't feel so long when we are full on Joy!! Happy Spring!