Yoga Breathing. How to breath (in Yoga)

Yoga breathing

Why Yoga Breathing matters.

Yoga breathing or Pranayama plays a central role in Yogic practice. Yoga Breathing is of equal importance with the Asanas. Similar to Chi of Chinese medicine, Yoga breathing  pumps “Prana”  or life-force energy around the body.

What’s so different about Yoga breathing?

I have often heard Beginners in a tone of great anxiety say, that they have no idea how to breath in Yoga. And although the smartest response might be to suggest breathing all the time :)) there is no one-sentence reply.

In yoga we are guided to inhale as we move into asanas (postures). We inhale on an upward movement and one that requires chest expansion. We can also exhale as we move into a stretch or asana. In general we exhale when bending down, twisting or moving deeper into pose.

That sounds easy

 Well it is and it isn’t. If I asked you to tell me what poses expand the chest you might have to scratch your head a little. When physically involved in practice there isn’t much time for head scratching! (which is kind of the point!)  

Furthermore,  People  sometimes hold their breath until they hear the magic words  inhale and exhale.  All of this of course is before being introduced to different types of Pranayama such as the ujjayi breath.

That sounds complicated I think I’ll just forget about this breathing lark….

Stick with your Pranayama (breathing techniques)! Not only will using the word every now and again make you sound vastly clever 😉 but it will transform Yoga into a moving meditation. You must admit, a gateway to tranquility is kind of handy!

OK, how do I do that again?


OK, if you’re new to Yoga breathing or confused try this on for size: lie on your back  and bring your hands to your abdomen . Inhale through your nostrils visualising the breath coming in through your feet filling the lower body and abdomen with breath. Exhale allow the breath to leave the body in the same manner (out through the nostrils visualising sending the breath from the abdomen down
 through the lower body and out through the feet again.) Continue deepening the breath until you fill the mid chest and upper chest with breath as well as the lower abdomen.

What if the teacher says inhale when I am exhaling?

 Firstly master breathing steadily through your practice. Don’t get overly concerned with the “proper time” to inhale and exhale! The reality is, when you do learn the “proper” time for inhalation and exhalation you may realise that you have already been doing it.

In practice (rather than theory) all it takes is focused awareness!Just don’t hold your breath!

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