I have had to put a temporary halt to my Yoga journey as I heal from an injury.
Using the word “injury” makes me sound athletic doesn’t it?
I’m a yoga beast.
A beast and now……I have an “injury”.
So what if I hurt my rota-tor cuff by doing a simple wall pose?
A wall pose?
Yes, yes I did. Let’s keep that to ourselves….Kk?
In the meantime, as I heal from my “injury”, I have been practicing an important part of yoga.
And yesterday….for the first time….I think I was “getting it” a little bit.
A little bit…….
I know you have heard our instructors tell us that how we breathe in yoga really can affect how we benefit from yoga.
It is hard for me to grasp the breathing when I am struggling to get myself into the positions, so what better time than to practice breathing than when you are “not” doing yoga.
Your “non yoga” time.
There are three different types of breathing that I am working on.
Abdominal: While inhaling, let the abdomen rise to its limit and at exhalation let it fall completely. Keep the chest still during this entire process – only move the abdomen. Continue this for 20 breaths and then rest.
Thoracic (chest) breathing: Notice the chest moving slightly up at inhalation and down with exhalation. Observe this pattern for a few moments. Begin to deepen, lengthen and extend that movement. On inhalation expand and lift the rib cage, filling the lungs completely. Then on exhalation, let the lungs collapse fully, sinking to the limits. In this step, keep the abdomen still, moving only the chest. Do this for 20 breath cycles and then stop.
These two styles are tough to get where it happens naturally. At least for me anyways.
Combine both of these and you get…….
Full Yogic breathing: This is what you hear going on in class. Where it sounds louder than normal. You inhale by filling the abdomen and then CONTINUE inhaling as you expand and fill the chest. Then exhale first from the chest as it empties and falls and then CONTINUE exhaling from the abdomen as it draws inwards completely. This is one round of the full yogic breath. Repeat this for 20 rounds.
Remember the pattern… Inhaling – abdomen then chest; Exhaling – chest then abdomen.
I’m serious….that is tough to do when you trying to figure out yoga positions. When you are “new to yoga” like me. So, I am practicing it while driving in the car, watching tv or blogging.
But focusing on breathing…rather than “the moment”, it has been very beneficial to me.
Mainly, I find that it relaxes me.
Yesterday I was stuck in traffic in Mt. Pleasant. The stress of the traffic started a pattern of thoughts to go through my head. Stressful thoughts. The idle time and stressful thoughts created an anxious feeling and I thought it might be a good time to practice my breathing and try to relax.
Soon my stressful thoughts were replaced with thoughts of the air passing through my body. Breathing in and out…..slowly, without strain……just breathing…. and I could feel my body relax.
I soon was able to “softly” replace just thoughts of the air, with thoughts of “healing air”, “new air” and it didn’t throw me off.
And my tension left….my body relaxed and I found myself in a better frame of mind.
Will I be able to conquer the breathing when I am trying to conquer a fancy yoga pose? Not so sure about that….but if I keep practicing, hopefully the two will come together at some point.
Here are some great helpful links if you would like to work on your breathing.
An easy to understand 5 minute video.
Here are some links that appear to be great blogs with awesome tips and background on yoga breathing.
Was breathing “yoga” style easy for you?
Are you still trying to master it?
Ever injured your rota-tor cuff by standing against a wall?
I’m just curious.
I would love to know.
Rebecca is the author of “YouAreTalkingTooMuch.com” and periodically writes for Yoga in Common.