Breathing is a subtle process that occurs every minute of every day, yet we often take it for granted. The breath is actually a very powerful tool that we can use in various ways to enhance our yoga practice.
Our lungs are large air sacs, each one approximately the size of a football. When we fill them with air, they give us a sense of buoyancy. If you’ve ever floated on your back in a pool, a lake, or in the ocean, you’ll notice that it’s much easier to stay afloat when your lungs are filled with air. You can use this same sense of buoyancy when practicing asanas.
In poses like Energizing Breath, Triangle, or the Warrior poses, we raise the arms on an inhalation. Visualize your lungs as they expand in all directions and notice how this makes lifting the arms almost effortless. As you hold your arms up, notice how each inhalation makes your arms feel lighter, your lungs supporting the lift of your arms. As you lower your arms with the exhalation, releasing the air from the lungs allows them to drift down naturally to your sides.
In this week’s asana, Cross Leg Pose, I also explain how you can use the breath to help deepen the pose.
Breathing can also be instrumental in enhancing our meditation. Using the breath (and Yoga Sound) as we meditate, really helps to focus the mind and keep it from wandering. You can practice Yoga Sound Meditation with Breathing along with me on my website.
Yoga is a journey. I hope you’ll continue to explore for yourself the different ways that the breath can enhance your yoga, whether you’re doing asanas, relaxation, meditation, or yoga breathing on its own.