Yoga-to breathe

That’s it, there’s no hiding it – you’re alive and yoga-to breathe.
Seriously though, have you ever stopped to think about how important breathing is? One could probably survive a few days without food and water but die or suffer permanent brain damage within a few minutes of not breathing.
Breath is mentioned throughout every part of yoga. I mean, there’s even a whole part of yoga just dedicated to breathing techniques (pranayama). But even in meditation or physical practice, there’s so much attention given to breath. And it’s even more apparent after attending this teacher’s training course.
There’s so much emphasis on knowing when to instruct “inhale” and when to instruct “exhale” as a yoga teacher. It’s quite annoying when you’re trying to memorise it from a manual, but it makes a lot of difference for the students. I say that from experience – it’s so much easier to inhale into a backbend, and so much easier to exhale as your chaturanga. It just makes sense. And it’s also a good reminder to any practitioner to keep breathing. As a dancer, it’s actually very common to be so caught up with the steps and forget to breathe; and it really doesn’t help with our stamina or our appearance, it actually makes our movements look very stiff. But now, I’m guessing that it’ll only be natural for me to start matching movements with my inhalations and exhalations, and be more aware about breath in general.
Throat breathing (ujjayi, a type of pranayama), thoracic breathing, stomach (diaphragm) breathing and clavicular breathing. I’ve only thought about breathing as inhaling through your nose and exhaling with your mouth. But it’s so much more than that. “In yoga, breath is equally as important – sometimes even more important – as the physical pose” (Frothingham, Scott. “Benefits of Ujjayi breathing and how to do it”. 17 December, 2019.) One of the very first things I learnt in this course was throat breathing (Ujjayi) while performing different asanas, which was obviously very new to me. This breathing technique improves concentration, helps to release tension throughout the body and also regulates temperature of the body. I think it’s a great tool to use during physical practice as it keeps the practitioner in a meditative state, helps to deepen the stretch in certain poses and keeps the core warm throughout practice.