Traveling Raja Blues

Trekking to distant lands can be one the most rewarding experiences there is.  However, the flight there and back can be rough on our circadian rhythms.  Increasing, my friends and family spread to further corners of the globe.  Upon arriving to stunning Switzerland to visit my brother, I myself was confronted with a brush of jet lag.  By adding breathing exercises, oftentimes called pranayama, into my yoga routine, I can attest to a surprisingly quick adjustment to my new time zone, six hours away.  The video below helps to summarize why certain pranayama techniques may be beneficial for those who travel; I suggest watching it for yourself.

To paraphrase a few interesting points, deep yogic breathing (e.g. ujjayi pranayama) does not substantially increase one’s blood oxygen content.  Yet pranayama will help us eliminate more carbon dioxide.  Swami Niranjananda also claims that pranayama helps the body assimilate oxygen into our tissues.  This phenomena may reflect the effect of pH on hemoglobin.  I can attest to a noticeable decrease in the effort required to sustain my physical posture – a metabolic dynamism of sorts.  Through practice, I’ve also discovered that the stress release which an absorbing pranayama session achieves can only be compared to playing improvisational music with friends.

Swami Niranjananda finds gomukhasana (shown above) useful for overcoming jet lag
Swami Niranjananda finds gomukhasana (shown above) useful for overcoming jet lag
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