Everyone knows how important breathing is. It allows our body to exist and is an essential part of physical processes. When something scares us, we take a deep breath, when we are nervous, our breathing speeds up, when we feel bliss or relaxation, we breathe slowly, rhythmically, calming down our body. However, do you realize that by controlling your own breathing, you are able to control your emotions, thoughts, and body?
The importance of breathing in yoga cannot be overestimated, correctly performed asanas, without combining them with the evenness of breathing, lose much of the effects on our body and mind. Pranayama - control of breathing, vital energy is one of the elements of knowing your body and mind. The term pranayama is a combination of two Sanskrit terms - "prana" and "ayama". Prana - energy, ayama - spread. Literally translated, it means "controlling the life energy" or "spreading the life energy".
Breath In yoga, the breath is similar to the breath of a newborn. There is no pause between the inhalation and exhalation.
How important breathing is
The breath accompanies us in every second of our life, during yoga classes it is worth remembering about it all the time. It gives us tranquility, allows us to control our emotions, especially those that try to take over us. When we stand on a mat while practicing yoga, we are able to expand our ranges with proper breathing. Breathing causes that the pain that accompanies us while taking asanas becomes less, the body accepts it more and stretches it. It often happens that when we practice more difficult positions, we stop breathing, thus causing more pain, and we get discouraged at the same time. The perfect solution is to consciously return to breathing, it allows us to hold the given asana much longer, then we can go beyond our limits.
In the eight-step path of yoga, pranayama is very important. The breath over which we control opens new perspectives for the exploration of the body and spirit. There are many breathing techniques, but at the beginning it is important to be aware of the meaning of the breath itself, to be able to recognize which part of the body we are breathing and how it affects the processes in our body.
The next step is to consciously deepen the possibilities of our breathing, expand the efficiency of the lungs, distribute the breath in the body and self-control the body with the inhaled air. If I know what we can breathe, calm down, or stimulate ourselves, we have a powerful ally in our hands.
We can use pranayama practices to concentrate and calm down, as we know in yoga it is the basis of effective exercises that will balance our body and calm our thoughts.
Breathing during yoga practice
When practicing yoga, it is very important that our breathing is fluid and noticeable all the time. Inhale should be shorter, exhale longer. However, it all depends on the position taken, for example, when we raise our leg or bend, we do not inhale, but exhale. In these situations, we stretch the muscle, we want to relax it. When we start the exercise, it may seem illogical to us to inhale, sometimes we do, but we bend while exhaling. As a general rule, exhaling is relaxing, while inhaling causes tension. Proper breathing also means oxygenated muscles, allowing us to practice better.
Breathe through the nose or mouth
It is very important whether we breathe through the nose or through the mouth during yoga practice. During the exercises, inhalation and exhalation should be done through the nose, if the air is exhaled through the mouth, we lose energy, during the practice we want to use the energy that is inside us all the time. At the moment of calmness and relaxation, at the end of the class, however, it is worth exhaling through your slightly open mouth.
Even with a stuffy nose, it's worth trying to exercise with nasal breathing. When exhaling, we open the nostrils, people with a runny nose, allergies or a crooked nasal septum can help themselves by breathing. At first it will be shallower, but it will get deeper over time. If one has been used to mouth breathing before, he or she can develop a new pattern of nasal breathing air, everything is a process. Breathing through the nose also helps to filter the oxygen, trapping elements harmful to the body, and then purified air enters the lungs and blood.
For Westerners, yoga is needed to calm down and become more flexible. Breathing helps us stop the racing of thoughts and concentration. It is worth practicing yoga with your head, that is, on the one hand, put your thoughts aside, and on the other hand, practice "with your head", not thoughtlessness, concentration and being here and now during the practice is very necessary.
Things worth remembering
Let's not forget that breathing accompanies us all the time, in difficult moments it is better to breathe out at the beginning, not inhale, because it is the exhalation that can calm us down. Conscious breathing makes it easier for us to control our lives. Increased awareness of the breath, increases awareness of yourself, directing your attention to your inner being here and now.
The text is based on a conversation with Barbara Poniatowska, yoga and relaxation instructor, creator of an original anti-stress program based on yoga techniques and conscious breathing.