Our first blog entry was about the foundation, where your body meets the earth. If you consult most experienced yoga teachers they will tell you that even more important than foundation is the BREATH.
I know it can at times seem boring, but breath really IS the most important thing. If you cannot control the breath, you cannot control the body Therefore your pose will not be its best. Patanjali in the Yoga Sutras states that yoga needs "sthira and sukham". Steady and Comfortable. This starts with the breath.
Even though we all want to get right straight to our movement in yoga, it's best to sit for a minute or five and control the breath. This calms the mind and may be a persons only time throught the day where the breath is top priority. Stop breathing for a minute and it will become evident how important breath is, but we tend to take it for granted.
So what do I do, Debbie?
Well, let me tell you. Sit, in a comfortable seated position. Spine long like a plumb line. Shoulders over hips, calmly take a deep breath in as the belly gets LARGER. hold it for a micro second, then slowly release the breath. Exhale is slower than the inhale just a bit. With the exhale the belly pulls back into the spine. Do this with a mild constriction of the throat called "ujjayi" breath on both inhale and exhale. At the end of the exhale you can pause again for a micro second. Obviously if this makes you woozy or feeling odd or ill whatsoever. Stop it.
You may close your eyes and focus on the breath as it enters and exits the body. Feel how the muscles you are using actually work and move. Feel the ribs expand and contract. It's a beautiful thing, and your body functions beautifully. Do this for several minutes if you can.
You may also count your breaths. Maybe to 10 or even 20 breaths. It's up to you, it's your yoga practice. You decide.
Then work on your spinal warm up. Stay tuned for a quickie on warming up the spine on the next blog entry.
When you lose your breath in your asana practice, you've lost the major benefits of the actual practice. If you don't slow things down and find your peaceful easy breath, you will probably lose your foundation next. Then you may fall and or injure yourself. Ain't nobody got time for that.
So stay comfortable with your breath. Don't hold it, don't push the body so hard that you become winded. Ease up, be kind to your body. Have fun. Play a little. Keep the breath. Good luck amigos. xo
Debbie Krejci E-RYT
become a yoga teacher