Friday, June 17, 2011

Yoga Update

If there was one thing my yoga teacher wanted to get through to me last night it was the importance of correct breathing in yoga. When you practise Vinyasa yoga you should be doing Ujjayi breathing, or as it is also called ocean breath or hissing breath. Vinyasa yoga is a breath-synchronized movement, which means with each movement a certain breath is attached be it and intake of air or and exhale. This conscious breathing gives you concentration, focus and control, and will empower your practise and build internal body heat.

Ujjayi breathing is a deep inhale and exhale through the nose with a focus at the back of the throat, which slightly constricts the passage of air. To try it; Inhale and then exhale mouth open, imagine that you are trying to fog up a pair of glasses. Now try this as an inhale as well, you should hear a sound or tone coming from your throat which sounds like the ocean, thus the name ocean breath. Now once you have this sound close your mouth and breath through the nose, make sure you are taking deep breaths. You should hear the same sound as when your mouth was open, and your breaths when practising should be 3 second inhales, and 3 second exhales. Beware you may sound like Darth Vader while trying this!

Now women do tend to find it more difficult then men for some reason, I have no idea why that is. But the thing I find hard is to make a loud sound, I can definitely make the sound and do the breathing properly but I can’t make it loud enough. Probably because I am focusing so hard on getting the pose correct! Any who, this is something I plan to work on over the next few weeks as it is an integral part of Ashtanga Vinyasa yoga.

The other thing I struggle with sometimes is exhaling and inhaling at the correct times as each movement is attached to either in inhale or and exhale. My teacher told me last night that usually any movement that you are looking upwards or your chest is moving up and out you should inhale as this is giving you full use of your lungs. And any time you face downwards or turn inwards it is an exhale as you are constricting the lungs. I found this explanation quite useful. Has anyone else had trouble with correctly breathing during yoga?  Any tips for me or anyone else reading my blog? I would love to hear your views.

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