Breathing is an integral part of yoga. Yoga breathing requires practice. You may not master breathing immediately but that is okay.

Breathing was the hardest thing for me to control when I was first learning yoga. I often held my breath, which isn’t good. I still love teachers who remind me to breathe and not hold it. I wish at work I had someone remind me to breathe when I am focused, sitting at my computer.

To really understand the breath you must be able to release all the muscles involved in the respiratory process. These muscles include the diaphragm, the abdomen the rib cage, chest and back, if these muscles are not released then the full breathing yoga cannot be felt and breath is not beneficial.

Inhaling and exhaling, sounds easy at first, right!!

But don’t ever give up, continue practicing because it will take you to a new level that you will LOVE!

Let’s start with Breath Awareness:

When you are breathing, always ask yourself:
Is my belly rising?
Is my chest rising?
Can I feel the breath going into my rib cage?
Am I exhaling all my air out?

More tips:
1. Keep your eyes closed when learning breathing awareness and techniques helps you center the effect and encourages inward focus
2. Recognize your normal breathing pattern first before making any changes.
3. Recognize if you breathing is too shallow if only breathing within the chest.
4. Correct breathing utilizes the full capacity of the abdominal and thoracic(lungs) cavity

Abdominal Breathing (Three Part Breath)
1. Start by moving the breath down into the lower abdomen to create “belly breathing”, using your diaphragm to push lower abdominal organs down.
2. Place your left hand on your chest and the right hand on your abdomen. Fill the abdomen and feel your right hand rise as your lungs fill. Tip: Laying supine may give a better feel of the abdomen rising and falling.
3. As you fill your belly and expand your lungs pay attention to your breath moving your rib cage up and out as well as your chest as you inhale.
4. Lastly exhale and feel the air slowly release from the belly.

Breathing requires practice until your get comfortable with it!!
The Sound of Breath
Ujjayi Breathing (Victory Breath)

1. The audible sound of Ujjayi breathing enhances your yoga experience.
2. Practice in a seated or supine position.
3. Inhale through the nose but exhale while constricting the back of your throat and breath as if you are fogging a mirror. Inhale and repeat several times focusing on the sound until you feel comfortable.
4. Once you develop good control for this ocean-like sound in the throat, proceed to close the lips and breath equally on the inhale and exhale.
5. This breath is what yoga instructions would like you to sustain during the duration of your class

Key Points:
1. Inhale as you naturally expand your spine. This compliments extensions such as open chest poses.
2. Exhaling compress and naturally cause spinal flexion. This complemenats poses such as forward bends.
3. Keep your breath with your movements. This helps you move through poses and hold poses longer each time you practice.

Credit to (National Exercise Trainers Association@2104 Yoga Foundations Manual)

Leave a Reply