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Just breathe


TALK ABOUT GETTING back to basics. The latest wellness trend doesn’t require high-tech gizmos or low-carb diets. All it involves is learning—or, relearning—how to breathe properly.

“People feel rejuvenated when they learn specific breathing techniques,” explains Ganesh Nagaraj of the Art of Living Club, a group that exists in more than 140 countries and hosts breathing sessions and full moon meditations on UC Berkeley’s campus.

From local students to national experts, including best-selling author Dr. Andrew Weil, many find that the effects of uniting mind and body through deeper awareness of breath practice—known as pranayama—are subtle at first but gain intensity with repetition. The long-term benefits associated with richer breathing can include reduced stress and fatigue, lower blood pressure, and less incidence of depression.

“One way to calm the mind and body is through the breath, which is why it helps to slowly count to 10 when you’re upset,” explains Jim Coughlin, manager of Pleasanton’s Downtown Yoga, which offers pranayama workshops.

More information at www.downtownyoga.com and www.artofliving.org

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