Yoga – Breath Is Life
You may also want to read the article: The Benefits of Deep Breathing & Yoga Exercises.
Written by Janie Gunn, Source Yoga Center
One of the first tenets of yoga practice is to develop healthy breathing techniques. Most of us take our breath for granted and thankfully our bodies autonomic nervous system breathes itself. Yet, the stresses of daily life can often lead us to develop unhealthy breathing habits. This includes shallow breathing as well as chest breathing that we can be unaware of. Those habits lead to anxiety and can trigger the fight or flight response. So, the first step to yoga practice is to learn how to breathe more fully.
The way to develop more breath awareness is to first have an attitude of gratitude for your breath. Breath is Life! Cherish your breath and recognize the gift it is by taking time to practice good breathing habits. In yoga breathing exercises are called pranayama. Prana = life force energy. Yama = practices. Here are the steps for the basic pranayama known as ujaii (ocean sounding) breath. Best time to practice is first thing in the morning.
Practice Deep Breathing
- Sit in a chair with your feet hip distance apart- create a low back curve
and lengthen up your spine sitting as tall as comfortable. Keep your
shoulders back and back of your head aligned with back of your pelvis.
- Place one hand on your belly one hand on your heart close your eyes.
- Feel your own natural breath rhythm then begin to lengthen your inhale
and your exhale breathing in and out your nostrils the entire time.
- Begin to inhale and exhale to a count of 4 breathing smooth, deep, and
diaphragmatically creating a gentle ocean sound - you should feel your
belly expand on the inhalation and contract gently on your exhale.
- Continue for several minutes and then begin to soften your breath and
move into prayer or meditation sending out gratitude for your breath and
your life. Release after another several minutes.
Note that if you start to feel dizzy breathing this way just release and allow your body to breathe itself naturally.
It takes time to retrain so be patient with the process. When you develop healthy breathing then your body, mind and heart will stay in the calm centered state of being that is your true nature. So that you can use your gift of life in a way that is uplifting to all those that you touch.