In this blog post, we will explain how to breathe properly in yoga, what yogic breathing is and why it is important. We will also share some of the benefits of yogic breathing and some tips to get started.
The ancient yogis and as well as athletes have known breathing is the stuff of life.
You can learn from them and control your breathing to enhance your emotional, physical, mental and spirituality well being.
You can achieve amazing things by simply learning a few time tested principles.
What is Yogic Breathing?
Yogic breathing, or pranayama, is one of the eight limbs of classic yoga.
Pranayama means “control of vital life force” in Sanskrit. It refers to various techniques of manipulating the breath to achieve different effects.
According to yoga philosophy, the breath contains vital energy known as prana that flows through the body and sustains life.
By regulating the breath we can influence the flow of prana.
Yogic breathing involves three main aspects, inhalation (puraka), exhalation (rechaka) and retention (kumbhaka).
Inhalation brings fresh oxygen and prana into the body, exhalation removes carbon dioxide and toxins. Retention creates a pause between breaths that allows prana to circulate and accumulate.
Guidelines on How to Breathe Properly in Yoga
The good news is, if you want learn how to breathe properly in yoga it is not complicated. All you need is to follow some basic guidelines:
Breathe Through Your Nose:
The nose filters and humidifies the air before it enters the lungs. It also produces nitric oxide, a molecule that dilates blood vessels, enhances oxygen delivery and kills bacteria.
The diaphragm is the main muscle of respiration, it should be engaged when you breathe. Deep breathing uses the full capacity of the lungs and maximizes oxygen intake.
Slow breathing activates the parasympathetic nervous system and induces a state of relaxation and calmness.
So make sure you have controlled breathing and Inhale deeply and exhale slowly.
To Breathe Properly Breathe Rhythmically:
The inhalation and exhalation should be smooth and even, without any pauses or interruptions. Rhythmic breathing creates a sense of harmony and balance in the body and mind.
Pay attention to your breath and how it feels in your body.
When you have basic breath awareness you will notice the sensations, sounds and movements associated with your breath. Deep yogic breathing mindfully will also help you to stay present.
Why is Learning How to Breathe Properly in Yoga Important?
Yogic breathing is important because it is the basis of yoga. People believe it is the postures because they get more attention. However, it all starts from correct breathing. even the postures must be lead by the breathe.
Breathing in yoga has many benefits, it can…
Improve respiratory function: Yogic breathing can increase lung capacity, oxygen uptake and carbon dioxide elimination. It can also help people with respiratory illnesses such as asthma and COPD to improve their symptoms and quality of life.
Boost immune function: Yogic breathing can modulate inflammation and fight infection while also promoting healing.
Support digestive function: Yogic breathing stimulates the wave action of the muscles in the digestive tract and aids digestion.
Regulate nervous system function: Yogic breathing activates the parasympathetic nervous system, which is responsible for rest and relaxation. It also balances the sympathetic nervous system, which is responsible for fight or flight.
Improve mental health: By increasing calmness and emotional regulation, yogic breathing can help reduce anxiety, depression and negative emotions.
Starting Tips to Breathe Properly in Yoga
If you are new to yogic breathing, here are some tips to help you get started with the breathing exercises…
Start with simple techniques: Begin with basic techniques such as ujjayi or nadi shodhana. Practice them for a few minutes at a time. Gradually increase the duration and intensity of your practice as you feel comfortable.
Follow an instructor: It is advisable to learn yogic breathing from a qualified instructor who can guide you through the steps and correct your mistakes.As well as a yoga class, you can also use online videos, apps, or books as references, but make sure they are from reputable sources.
Listen to your body: Yogic breathing should not cause any discomfort or dizziness. If you experience any of these symptoms stop immediately and consult your doctor. Remember, you may need to modify or avoid certain techniques depending on your health condition.
Be consistent: Yogic breathing is most effective when practiced regularly and consistently. Aim for at least 10 minutes of practice every day. You can also incorporate yogic breathing into your daily activities, such as walking, working or meditating.
Common Breathing Techniques in Yoga Practice
There are many types of yogic breathing techniques. They all help you balance and calm your nervous system and get you in touch with you body while also staying present. However, each technique also has specific benefits.
Some examples of yoga breathing are:
Also called “victorious breath” or “ocean breath”, this technique involves constricting the back of the throat slightly to create a soft hissing sound as you breathe.
The benefits of Ujjayi pranayama practice include…
Improving circulation by increasing the oxygen intake and blood flow.
Strengthening the nervous system by stimulating the vagus nerve and balancing the endocrine system.
Eliminating waste and toxins by massaging the internal organs and promoting detoxification.
Boosting vitality by increasing energy and stamina and preparing the body for deeper yoga poses.
It strengthens the lungs by lengthening respiration, improving oxygen saturation and enhancing respiratory efficiency.
Known as “alternate nostril breathing”, this technique involves using your fingers to block one nostril at a time and breathe through the other. You can start with closing either the right or left nostril. It is often used with the Nasagra Mudra.
Some of the benefits of Nadi Shodhana pranayama are:
Balances the hemispheres of the brain, and purifies and balances the nadis (energy channels).
Stimulates the ajna (third eye) and muladhara (root) chakras.
It improves blood supply to the brain, oxygen saturation and respiratory efficiency.
Encourages detoxification and cleansing by massaging the internal organs and promoting waste elimination.
Also known as “skull shining breath” or “breath of fire”, this technique involves deep belly breathing that uses rapid and forceful exhalations followed by passive inhalations.
The benefits of Kapalabhati breathing include:
Cleansing the lungs and respiratory system by expelling carbon dioxide and increasing oxygen intake.
Improving the function of the pancreas, reproductive system and digestive system by stimulating the production of insulin, hormones and digestive enzymes.
Removing toxins from the body and helps to purify the blood and the internal organs.
Also known as “bee breath”, this technique involves making a humming sound as you exhale.
Some of the benefits of Bhramari pranayama are:
Improves cognitive functioning and self-awareness by stimulating the brain.
It reduces tension in the head and neck regions.
Balances the hormones, improves the reproductive system, and regulates the menstrual cycle by stimulating the endocrine glands and the swadhisthana (sacral) chakra.
Cools the body by creating a soothing sound vibration in the ears and throat.
Boosts confidence by improving vocal quality and expression.
How to Breathe Properly in Yoga Final thoughts
Yogic breathing is a powerful practice that has many benefits. By learning how to breathe properly in yoga you can enhance your well-being and happiness.
When you use the different breathing techniques and practice conscious breathing you will also begin to understand your mind and body in a deeper way. You can combine them with a Mudra to enhance the beenfits.
No matter which yoga style you do, breathing is not just a passive process of taking in oxygen and releasing carbon dioxide. It is a conscious and controlled practice that can help you connect with your body, calm your mind, and enhance your physical and mental performance.
By learning why is breath important in yoga, you can develop a deeper awareness of yourself and your surroundings.
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