Asana: step by step guide to breathing
Breathing is central in a yoga practice. It's all in the breath. Yoga is the practice of conscious and efficient breathing. Having discussed the benefits of breathing in previous posts, let's explore the practical side of things and see how to breath in asana practice.
When we start, the best way to breath is through your nose, mouth closed. Keeping the mouth closed is important as it helps to balance the level of carbon dioxyde with oxygen. The more carbon dioxyde you build in the body, the more you'll be able to fix oxygene. Breathing out through the mouth make you release too much carbon dioxyde in one go, thus creating an imbalance, making it morde difficult for the cells to receive oxygen.
The breath should be long and smooth. A long and smooth breath allows concentration, and has a calming effect on the mind, stimulating the parasympathetic nervous system.
Once you're a more familiar to asana and breathing, you can start introducing ujjayi breath.
This breathing, also known as the ocean breath or the victorious breath can also be practiced outside of the mat. It is created by the constriction of the throat. By reducing the air passage through the throat, it allows better control of the breath which means that you can breath deeper and longer. The friction and the resistance on to the muscular system who will need to use more force to move generates heat in the body as well as stability. As the body is heated up from the inside, it is therefore warmed up for asana practice. Ujjayi breath eliminates toxins and keep the practitionner energised. Using ujjayi breath allows the mind to stay centered on the practice promoting a meditative state.
To practice ujjayi breath, start in a seated position. Place your hand on your throat it will help to feel the constriction of the glottis.
Breath out and say the sound 'haaaa....' breath in and pronounce the word 'saaaaa....'.
Repeat consciously a few times.
Repeat again but this time with your mouth closed. If you wonder whether you are doing it right or not, place your hands on your ears and listen to the ocean sound like of the breath when ujjayi is activated.
Thanks for reading, enjoy the practice.