Tuesday, 13 October 2015

Mindful of the breath

The breath is our anchor in asana practice that keeps us present, right here, right now and this is the main reasons for focusing on the breath in asana practice. The breath helps you stay with any discomfort (but never hold with pain), and hold poses longer. We can 'forget' to breathe while holding poses which is why you will hear teachers say, 'Don't forget to breathe'.  

The way we breathe in asana practice is also important. The inhale is activating so you would use the inhale as you move into a back bend, raise your arms or lift your chest. The exhale on the other hand is releasing so that you would use the exhale as you release into a forward bend. The exhale can also be used to engage the core. When you move into a twist, the exhale can  help you to make space in your body to twist a little deeper.  

We begin this week's video with Ujjayi breathing. Once you have mastered this breathing technique, it is beneficial to use it throughout your practice. The soft sound that using this breath makes keeps your mind focused and because the technique slows the breath down, it will immediately become obvious when you are straining in a pose because the breath will also become strained.

We warm up with some Sun Salutations linking breath to movement so that the sequence becomes a moving meditation. We also do this later in the practice with the Dancing Warrior sequence.  

Our yoga practice also includes some poses that may challenge us. Never work beyond your capabilities but sometimes we are more capable than we believe. If we can stay centred in poses that challenge us on the mat then with continued practice we will be able to stay centred off the mat when life throws us challenges.  

We end our practice by watching the breath - the simplest form of meditation. Try to practice for a few minutes each day, just sitting quietly watching your breath and enjoy the peace it brings. Please see the yoga video on my YouTube channel-'Mindfulness-Mindful of the breath' https://youtu.be/5C0mxcyqTSs

Janet x

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