Through yoga, you have the chance to connect to the energy of your body; the fire in your stomach, the ether in your thoughts, the air in your breath, and the ground at your feet. To get the most out of your yoga practice, you first need to learn how to breathe correctly, as well as relax properly. “Pranayama” is the science of controlling one’s breath and is the control of “prana,” meaning the energy that lies behind each and every one of your actions. Pranayama breathing exercises tone and strengthen the nervous system, the state of your breathing directly reflects your state of mind. Regulate your thoughts, balance your emotions, relax and re-energize with these basic breathing exercises.
- Focus on the rise and fall of your abdomen, as well as, the movements of your body and make sure your breathing is slow and full.
- Lie on your back and place your hands on your abdomen, while your elbows rest to the sides.
- Inhale through your nose and feel the rise of your abdomen under your hands. Count to 4 making sure your breathing is rhythmical and slow.
- Exhale for a count of 4 and notice the fall of your abdomen beneath your hands.
- Do this breathing for 2-3 minutes. Let your body relax and reflect on how you feel during this practice.
Full Yogic Breath
This breathing exercise makes full use of your respiratory system in a controlled and conscious way. By doing so, you are able to feed your muscles with oxygen as you move in and out of postures, making you stronger and more flexible. This breathing connects you to your body, develops awareness, and aids in reducing lactic acid build-up in the body.
- Sit comfortably in a cross-legged seated position and place one hand on your chest and the other on your abdomen.
- Inhale deeply through your nose and pay attention to the expansion of your abdomen, then rib cage, your chest, and finally, your top hand rising.
- Exhale and first allow your abdomen to relax, then your rib cage, and lastly your chest.
- Contract your abdomen gently to fully empty your lungs of air.
In a future post, we will also be looking at Alternate Nostril Breathing, as well as Shining Skull Breath. Stay tuned!