Awaken the body and quiet the mind with Breath of Joy, a balancing pranayama, or breathing, practice coupled with synchronized upper body movements. It temporarily stimulates the sympathetic nervous system, increasing oxygen levels in the bloodstream while activating the parasympathetic nervous system, creating a calm, focused mind.
Step 1: Stand with your feet parallel shoulder-width apart, with soft knees.
Step 2: Inhale through the nose one-third of your lung capacity and swing your arms up in front of your body parallel in line with your shoulders.
Step 3: Continue inhaling to two-thirds capacity and stretch your arms out to the side like wings to shoulder level.
Step 4: Inhale to full capacity and swing your arms parallel and over your head, palms facing each other.
Step 5: Open your mouth and exhale completely with a HA, bending the knees deeply as you fold forward and swing your arms back behind you.
Start slow and find a rhythm that works for you without forcing or straining your body. Complete five to eight repetitions. Find stillness, close your eyes, and notice the sensations and aliveness from within.
Contraindications: If you start to feel lightheaded, stop for a minute and breathe normally. Don’t practice if you have high blood pressure or any kind of head or eye injury, like migraines or glaucoma.
About the Contributor
Pilin Anice, E-RYT 500, is a dance, meditation, and Kripalu-trained yoga instructor, wellness coach, and model. Known for infusing joy and connection in her classes, she has appeared on Good Morning America, The Today Show, and BET/CentricTV. A Howard alumna, she is an instructor at the Ailey Extension in New York City and has been featured in the New York Times, ESSENCE, MindBodyGreen, and SELF.