Breath and movement are synonymous in yoga. Physically, the intentions of breathing techniques are meant to train your lungs to fully breathe. The diaphragm is trained to move to facilitate lubrication for the digestive organs. As you breathe, through the nostrils you cleanse the air that comes into the body. Deep breaths provide rich O2 to the heart and the elimination of CO2.
Mentally, the breath is meant to calm the mind. The sound of your breath brings awareness to the present moment. By focusing on the rhythm during asana, allows you to be aware if you are working the body aggressively and non-aggressively. The sound acts as an anchor to focus the mind on being present.
In the beginning of your practice, come into your rhythm of “Ujjai” breath, also known as victorious breath. Eventually the breath will travel in and out effortlessly. Witness if you can lengthen the inhale to match the length of the exhale. Using your breath to enliven your natural range of motion. As you inhale you lift and open. As you exhale, soften and create space.
Moving into a pose with breath awareness allows you to go in slowly, sensitive to your body’s feedback signals from movement to movement. When you move through asana or a flow to fast, without a clear focus on breath, you can become over enthusiastic and you tend to bypass the appropriate limitation or “edge”. There is a tendency to thrash through the asana aggressively. With Breath as your guide, you can move through a deep realm of sensitivity. You learn to avoid extremes of over and under use.
Without Breath awareness, we are more likely to give up on the first hint of intense situations… You then miss the gift of discovering control and body awareness,
Allow yourself to back off or come out of a pose and to rest when you notice your breath has sped up or is forced. Let your breath be a gauge for your practice. Flowing breath in a yoga practice can take you to a state of moving meditation. Breathing enhances the physical poses and calms and clears your mind. Breath is your life force, send your life force to every inch of you body and to the very centre of your core and you will find a deeper purpose to your practice.
Denise Pala, CYT