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Natural Awakenings Central New Jersey



Aug 30, 2021 12:47PM ● By Nicole Zornitzer

Pranayama is the manipulation of breath in yogic terms. It is my belief that pranayama is more important than the physical asana practice. As I tell my students, when we find the ability to manipulate our breathing patterns, we are exercising our internal bodies and the positive affects this has on the physical body is immeasurable. Therefore, before starting any asana practice it is important to learn how to breath. 

We use prana, or energy to create a multitude of affects within the physical, emotional, and mental bodies. Pranayama is the directly related to the second Kosha, Pranamayakosha and the movement of breath in the body. When we focus on the inhalation during a yoga practice, we are in essence creating a more energizing practice to heat and create alertness. When we focus on the exhalation during a practice we are conversely, embracing a more cooling or relaxing sensation in the body.

Taking a deeper dive into the term “prana”, it is best understood as energy not only within the body but also energy around the body. The practice of yoga introduces the practitioner to the idea of manipulating the breath to create health, wellness, awareness of self and our individual power to rewire our internal tendencies. 

There are a multitude of types of pranayama techniques:

3 Part Breath

Attention to breathing in from the nostrils through the chest down to the belly. This is the most used pranayama technique for beginner yogis.

Nadi Shodhana

Alternate Nostril Breathing used to create balance between the right and left hemispheres of the body.


Ocean Breathing which is also viewed as a more balancing breath that fills the lungs with energy or prana while removing stagnant energy and encouraging strength and tone.


Shining Skull Breath, which is energizing and stimulating, and the focus is on the exhalation while embracing a more passive inhalation. This breath is used to recharge the nervous system and clear out toxins.


Bellows Breath is similar to Kapalabhati but more heating and energizing as we focus on both the inhalation and exhalation. The breath is beneficial for circulation, digestion and respiratory health.

Shitali and Sitkari 

Cooling Breath which is beneficial if there is an excess of heat in the body (especially in the summer months).

When working with groups or in individual sessions in Yoga Therapy, Reiki, and Sound Healing. attention to pranayama is the always the first step in centering a client. When we encourage ourselves and others to simply focus on inhaling and exhaling, we are creating a mindful activity that enables one to become present. We often hear yogis discussing the ability to be present not only on the yoga mat, but also off the mat in everyday activities. The use of pranayama is an ideal method to create this awareness. The wonderful aspect about this practice is that it can be done anytime, anywhere! When we become aware of our surroundings and what may trigger our personal stress response, we have the ability to calm our own bodies and minds by focusing on breathing. Alternatively, if we feel sluggish or tired, we also have the tools at our ready to create a more alert body.

Learning how to breathe may sound intuitive, but it does take time, patience and practice. Become your own laboratory, use this body as information and allow daily life both on the yoga mat and off the yoga mat to become a moving meditation all charged by one breath at a time. We are all just one breath away from letting go and simply being. 

Nicole Zornitzer, ERYT 1000, yoga therapist, founder of Niyama Yoga & Wellness Shala, located in Randolph, New Jersey, Upper Lake Mohawk in Sparta, New Jersey, and Delray Beach in Florida.

Tick Talk

Spring officially sprung on March 21. We have turned our clocks ahead. We are looking forward to warm winds, sunny skies and the smell of fresh cut grass. The daffodils and tulips have recently bloomed and we are just starting with the yard work that comes with the warmer weather.  Sadly, another season has started ramping up.  Tick season.

•             The best form of protection is prevention. Educating oneself about tick activity and how our behaviors overlap with tick habitats is the first step.

•             According to the NJ DOH, in 2022 Hunterdon County led the state with a Lyme disease incidence rate of 426 cases per 100,000 people. The fact is ticks spend approximately 90% of their lives not on a host but aggressively searching for one, molting to their next stage or over-wintering. This is why a tick remediation program should be implemented on school grounds where NJ DOH deems high risk for tick exposure and subsequent attachment to human hosts.

•             Governor Murphy has signed a bill that mandates tick education in NJ public schools. See this for the details.  Tick education must now be incorporated into K-12 school curriculum. See link:

•             May is a great month to remind the public that tick activity is in full swing. In New Jersey, there are many tickborne diseases that affect residents, including Anaplasmosis, Babesiosis, Ehrlichiosis, Lyme disease, Powassan, and Spotted Fever Group Rickettsiosis.

•             For years, the focus has mainly been about protecting ourselves from Lyme disease. But other tick-borne diseases are on the rise in Central Jersey. An increase of incidence of Babesia and Anaplasma are sidelining people too. These two pathogens are scary because they effect our blood cells. Babesia affects the red blood cells and Anaplasma effects the white blood cells.

•             Ticks can be infected with more than one pathogen. When you contract Lyme it is possible to contract more than just that one disease. This is called a co-infection. It is super important to pay attention to your symptoms. See link.

A good resource from the State:


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