The Yogic Breath

I’m sure you’ve heard about the importance of meditation and breathing. When I read about these things I think, yeah, I’m going to do that. But let’s be honest. I am just not good at it. Really, it is amazing that I like yoga as much as I do, because I think of myself as too type-A and endorphin-starved to sit still long enough to do yoga. I was the kid who got excused from nap time in preschool. I just hated it. (Now of course, I’d pay for the privilege).

I have good intentions. But I really struggle to clear my mind enough to meditate. Even when we do the breathing part of yoga in class I usually fight myself to focus on my breath and clear my mind. Those of you can relate are probably also aware of how this can wreak havoc on falling asleep.

Anyhow, Rachel, the fabulous yoga instructor for my pre-natal yoga class, recently emailed us about the “The Complete Yogic Breath.” This kind of breathing is extremely beneficial whether you are pregnant or not. Personally, I really like how I feel after just few yogic breaths. She agreed to allow me to post this.

For me, this breathing is a very manageable way to get a little bit of peace and relaxation in the day. I am not saying I can necessarily stay focused – yet – on doing this for an extended period of time, but even a little while has a benefit.

Give it a try and let me know what you think.

From Rachel at YogaVita

BREATHE:

The Complete Yogic Breath (this is the most common yoga breath..you may exhale through the mouth if you are too hot.)

Deep breathing alone is an effective stress management tool. By breathing properly, you not only cleanse your body of the by-products of metabolism, but you also provide sufficient oxygen to the cells of your body allowing them to function efficiently.

Before you begin check your posture.

Sit comfortably allowing your spine to extend through its natural curves.
Inhale

1. Use the muscles of your diaphragm to pull the breath deep into your body—as you do so your belly moves out.

2. As you continue to inhale, feel your ribs expand,

3. and then feel your chest rise.
Exhale

1. As you exhale, first feel your chest fall,

2. then your ribs contract.

3. Finally, pull your bellybutton in toward your spine and use the muscles of your diaphragm to squeeze the last bit of air from your lungs. Belly moves in.

As you continue, allow your breathing to deepen and to slow down. Keep in mind the SLOWER (or the longer) the inhale and ESPECIALLY THE EXHALE, the better your chances to relax.

The best way to focus in the present moment is by starting to focus in the breath. We have covered the abdominal breath (inhale belly out, exhale belly in) and the sighing breath. Also, just being aware of daily mundane stuff that you do as you do them, helps you. Like when you brush your teeth think “I am brushing my teeth” instead of having other thoughts, just be mindful or aware of what you are doing as you are doing it.

Here is an article Rachel wrote for a local publication about the importance of focusing in the present moment in general and what you can learn from that.

Posted with permission from yogavita.com

[Note: Rachel provided more information about the yogic breath which was directly related to labor & delivery. If you’d like to read that, send me a note and I will forward it to you.]

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2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Rakelle
    Apr 02, 2012 @ 22:17:24

    I took prenatal yoga with Rachel at the Carlin Springs Health Center. She’s wonderful!! Tell her hello for me. 🙂

    Reply

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