Breathing Deeper into the Pose
Our breath is indispensable to us. It is a constant, something that is present all the time in our body. It is also a part of the body’s daily functions, which we tend to overlook, much like the fact that our digestive system digest everything we eat and drink. Our breathing has a very technical function in the body but, at the same time, it has a soothing effect on our whole body and mind.
It is the soothing and relaxing effects of the breath that we can use to our advantage in our yoga practice. Part of the yoga practice is the use of breathing both in poses where we stay still for some time and in the exercises where we move from one pose to another. Make sure to wear comfy leggings so your practice can be more enjoyable.
With dynamic movements like vinyasa flows or the sun salutation, we use the breathing in a deliberate way. Deciding where the breath goes in a movement doesn’t only tell us how to breathe, it also makes sure that we breathe. It’s an important part of the practice and essential for the body.
When we stay in poses for a longer time, up to as much as five minutes or more, we tend to forget about breathing techniques. Yet every inhalation and exhalation is essential. It can help us to relax and stay in the pose for a longer time before we get that strong urge to come back out.
There are two very good ways to use the breath in yoga poses. The first method is to go into the pose, making sure you have found a good position where you can sit still. Staying still is a crucial part of development when staying in the poses. Once you have settled in the pose feel your breathing or follow the movements of your breathing. Following or feeling your every inhalation and exhalation does not only take your attention away from the discomfort of the pose, but it also helps you to relax in the pose. The second method for using your breath to help you is to let go with every exhalation. Your focus will be on letting go every time you exhale and you can probably feel the physical effect after a little time in the pose.
Both techniques are relatively easy but at the same time quite complex. The complexity comes from the restless ways of the mind. When staying for a longer time in the pose you might find that other thoughts come into your mind, either taking your attention away from your breathing or next to your breathing. The moment you realize that your attention is elsewhere, gently lead it back to your breathing. The practice of letting your breathing technique become your sole focus of attention is something you can practice over and over, regardless of the level you are at. In other words, don’t worry if it seems like your mind goes everywhere after staying with the way you breathe for a short moment – that is perfectly natural. Even the most experienced feels that at times.