Conscious breathing

When I first started practicing yoga, my go-to class was vinyasa.

Vinyasa consists of the Sunskrit words (1) Vi – “in a special way”; and (2) Nyasa – “to place”. I remember an instructor explained it prior to starting the class, that on top of the specific positions of your hands, feet and body, even your inhale and exhale as well as drishti (gaze) mattered. The entirety sounded simple, since it was a mere following of instructions.

Quite the contrary. When asanas were harder to hold, my mind wandered off thinking of happy thoughts, and so did my breath. At times, I fumbled over poses, and forgot – “was it an inhale or an exhale when I twist my body?” As a beginner practising yoga by holding asana poses, I felt the breath was secondary to my movement and drishti. Gradually as my practise deepened, so did my appreciation for proper breathing in yoga.

Just as a quick guide:

  • Inhale when you lengthen or open your body to encourage expansion.
  • Exhale to deepen your pose or twist your body to encourage retraction.
  • Also: in vinyasa, one breath one movement.

The introduction of conscious breathing should help ease into asana poses, as well as to deepen your focus and awareness.