Yoga is a fantastic way to strengthen, lengthen and relax the body and mind. A big part of a good yoga practice is the focus and attention that is placed on breathing. To empower your yoga practice, try incorporating the techniques below to improve and heighten your next yoga practice.
To improve your technique, you need to achieve basic breath awareness. Begin by noticing where you currently are with your breath. Can you notice when it is shallow, or what makes it speed up? Observe your inhalation and exhalation, and notice which one is longer. Once you have observed your breath for a few minutes, you are ready to practice different breathing techniques.
1. Ocean Breath
To practice ocean breath, focus your attention on your exhalation. Inhale through your nose and then exhale slowly, through your mouth, making a ‘ha’ sound. Remember to keep focusing on your breath throughout your yoga practice.
2. Breath Retention
This breathing technique focuses primarily on inhalation. Begin by inhaling to fill the lungs as much as possible. Hold your breath for 10 seconds. After this period, inhale a little more. Then hold your breath for as long as possible.
This is a fantastic way to rid your mind of anxiety. It is best done just after your yoga practice to prepare for meditation.
3. Fire Breath
To begin this technique, place a hand on your stomach. Focus on inflating this area as you take a deep breath, rather than inflating your chest. Then slowly exhale. Inhale again, and this time exhale by rapidly drawing in the lower abs to force the air out in short spurts. Continue for 30-35 exhalations.
This breathing technique is a rapid and energizing method to activate the sympathetic nervous system. As such, it is best practiced at the start of your yoga practice to boost your energy.