Your breath is the most important aspect of living. No living being can survive without breathing. It is what keeps them alive apart from other secondary factors. Breathing helps to regulate and enhance the state of your mind, your concentration power, emotions, and overall well being. It is one of the fundamental processes of the human body. Breathing is known to influence the regular activities of every single cell in the body. It also impacts the performance of the brain.
Research and statistics show that humans breathe about 15 times in a minute. However, most people breathe incorrectly and only use their lung capacity minimally. This deprives the body of oxygen and can have harmful effects.
This blog post deals with breathing exercises forming the core of meditative yoga practices. The key aspect of breathing in yoga lies in the fact that it needs to be done intentionally and with mindfulness. Learning how to breathe correctly can enhance your ability to tackle stress, be healthier, and be calm.
Here are a few Basics for Breathing During Yoga
Here are some of the essential factors to keep in mind in order to breathe properly during yoga poses:
- INHALE while performing a center poses (e.g. Mountain Pose)
- EXHALE when the body is out of the center position (e.g. Twist)
- INHALE when you are extending or reaching up (e.g. Upward Salute, Warrior I). Also, inhale for backbends (e.g. Camel)
- EXHALE while bending sideways or forward bend (e.g. Forward Fold)
Different Ways to Breath during Yoga
Breathing is key when establishing the mind-body-connection. It promotes balance, will power, and sound judgment. Learning the correct way of breathing along with different techniques while practicing different yoga poses is essential. Here are some of the traditional breathing patterns while practicing yoga:
This deals with long and deep breaths in the abdomen. It aims to focus on the expansion of the stomach while inhaling and contraction during exhalation.
It allows you to breathe upwards and outwards into the lungs. This helps you to be more aware of the expansion of the lungs. It enables drawing in air and dropping the lungs while exhaling.
This facilitates breathing into the lungs until the expansion is felt in the upper portion around the base of the neck. Exhalation becomes a relatively slower process here.
It is a textured and audible breathing technique through the nose while constricting the throat. Itis uniform both while inhaling and exhaling. This breathing technique is used for generating inner heat.
Lion’s Breathing Technique
It is a fierce breathing technique that facilitates deep inhaling through the nose and loud exhaling through the mouth with the tongue sticking out. The purpose of this technique is to empty out the stagnant air and energy out of the body at the end of the exhalation.
Other Breathing Asanas
There are other pranayama to choose from than the conventional yogic breathing techniques, here are some of them:
- Breath of Fire Technique – It is one of the fundamental techniques of breathing while practicing yoga. The technique is steady, rapid, harmonious, and constant. The breath of fire technique emphasizes equally on inhaling and exhaling. It is implemented through the nostrils with the mouth closed.
- Alternate Nostril Breathing – This technique deals with left-to-left nostrils breathing. It is a water dominated asana that inculcates a cooling effect on the body. It is a great technique to activate the right part of the brain and release you of hypertension. The opposite of this is right-to-right nostril breathing that has a heating effect on the body. The alternate nostril is a great technique overall to help relax and balance the nervous system.
- Humming Bee Breath – This technique is often performed at the beginning of a yoga session. It helps to establish a sense of clarity right from the beginning. To practice Hummingbird Breath you exhale for a long time through the mouth while making a buzzing sound to feel the vibration throughout the body.
Benefits of Different Breathing Techniques During Yoga Practice
There are uncountable benefits of breathing itself and adopting different breathing techniques while practicing yoga has its own perks, some of which are:
- The discussed breathing techniques allow you to cleanse and detoxify yourself from the contaminated and toxic air that we, unfortunately, breathe in every day. The practice assists bowel movement and prevents the body from many diseases.
- Different breathing techniques are favorable for yogis with respiratory problems. This is one of the finest exercises to keep every single tissue in the body healthy and invigorate the spine.
- Varied breathing methods improve blood circulation, maintain and regulate blood pressure, strengthen the abdominal organs, and assist in eliminating impurities from the blood.
- The breathing techniques help in toning the abdominal area. This makes the body fit and clears the entire nervous system along the process.
- It increases lung capacity and vital strength.
- These breathing techniques help you to calm the mind, relieve stress, fight depression, and keep the mind alert as well.
- Different breathing methods boost the immune system, promote harmonization, increase oxygen transfusion and physical endurance.
Limitations & Contradictions
People with conditions like cardiac problems, spinal disorders, hernia, abdominal ulcers, and pregnant women should avoid practicing these varied breathing methods.
Whenever you’re in doubt while practicing yoga, always remember that in general, exhalation is for deepening folds and twists, while inhalation is for length and opening. The best way to breathe effectively is to build up a little at a time.
The magic behind breathing lies in mastering the process of exhaling. Different people will opt for different breathing methods that will suit their necessities the best. Breathing during yoga keeps you focussed and evolves you to a whole new level of consciousness. The quality and longevity of your life depend on how you choose to breathe. As respiration is directly proportional to the heart, deep breathing will enhance the absorption of energy and promote overall well-being.