Proper breathing

My first yoga breathing technique is abdominal breathing.
“Lie down on the mat, close your eyes and breathe through the nose. Place one hand on your belly. As you inhale, feel your abdomen rise then feel it fall as you exhale.” This is the part I like most in the beginning and end of every yoga class. Tension is released in the body. Mind is cleared of stress.

How often do we focus on breathing? Maybe a minute or two when we look up from the monitor? Breathing has become an exercise that we have to allocate time, either early in the morning or in the evening after work in a yoga class.

We are constantly being reminded to breathe as we hold the poses. Ujjayi breathing in Ashtanga yoga improves concentration, calms the body and mind. It is used in yoga therapy simply because it soothes the nervous system. Ujjayi breathng tones the internal organs and increases inner temperature, generating heat. I’m still working on maintaining the rhythm in the asana flow.

Kapalabhati is another breathing technique that I’m struggling with. The inhalation is slow and the exhalation is vigorous. By the second round of 20, I’ve no strength to force out the exhalation. Keep trying.

In alternate nostril breathing, Nadi Shodhana, we are taught to hold the breath. It cleanses the respiratory system and strengthen the diaphragm, restoring energy. I started counting very fast as I’m not used to holding the breath. I’ve to constantly remind myself to slow down. The act of slowing down is “an advanced lesson” for me.

Pranayama is the fourth limb of yoga. It is the essential component of yoga practise because the breath is an “extension of the life force” and pranic energy. This is an interesting subject by itself, want to know more.

Dorothee 200hr YogaTTC 07/14 wkend