Here is an introduction to a safe-for-beginners breath work series; called The Four Purifications. It is taken directly from Chinese Traditional Herbal Medicine Vol 1. Diagnosis and Treatment, Dr. Michael Tierra, L.Ac., OMD, A.H.G. and Lesley Tierra, L.Ac., A.H.G. (P.370-372).
This is a series of breathing exercises that will help calm the body, quiet the mind, energize and rejuvenate the entire body and mind. These will rid the body of nervousness, insomnia, indigestion, lung and breathing problems, poor circulation, low energy and vitality, fatigue, lethargy, and poor memory. These Four breathing techniques are very important in helping the body recover from many health problems. They are safe for beginners; however, THEY MUST BE DONE EXACTLY AS INSTRUCTED! These will help tone the lungs, improve blood circulation, and gives strength to the internal organs, the heart and entire body.
The Four Breathing Techniques are:
Alternate Nostril Breathing
Practice this for 3 months before moving on to the intermediate method.
We begin with Alternate nostril breathing. Sit, with your back up straight. In a chair or on the ground. You may concentrate your attention on the space between the eyebrows while doing the breathing exercise.
Alternate Nostril Breathing (Nadishodhana)
Begin by gently exhaling all air. Then close the right nostril with the thumb of the right hand. Inhale slowly and deeply through the left nostril. When finished, close the left nostril with the ring finger of the right hand, releasing the thumb, exhale slowly and fully through the right nostril. Next, immediately inhale through the right nostril in a slow and steady manner. Finally, close the right nostril with the right thumb, releasing the ring finger, and exhale through the left nostril. This completes one round. Begin with ten rounds and gradually increase to forty.
This exercise alone is extremely beneficial to the body. It is very quieting to the mind and strengthens the nervous system. It induces a wonderful calm state, releases nervous tension, anxiety, agitation, anger, and other disruptive emotions, and helps you SLEEP Better!
It also oxygenates the system, thus aiding in the circulation of energy and blood in the body. This in turn stimulates the proper functioning of all the internal organs. CONTINUED Practice of alternate Nostril Breathing will strengthen the lungs and breath control.