Support A Steady Yoga Practice: Discover Your Breath


As we continue to explore the poses and our breathing practices, we are expanding our level of awareness. We are learning to pay attention. We are discovering what it is to be in the present moment. And, it is in the present moment that we experience our true “state of yoga.” It is where we see our connection and remember who we are. 

The fourth limb of the yogic system is pranayama or breath control. It is made up of a range of techniques that begin with simple awareness and continue on with more intensive control approaches.

Although pranayama is an integral part of yoga, the practice is not generally taught until a student is comfortable resting with their breath in either a supine or seated position. In this way, a student learns to relax completely in order to receive the breath.

Breathing practices give your mind focus – you virtually tune in when you pay attention to your breath.  This can occur whether you are in a resting pose or actively performing the asanas. As many teachers will tell you, “if it is not with the breath, it is not yoga.”

A good way to begin the practice of pranayama is to focus on your belly breath: Continue reading “Support A Steady Yoga Practice: Discover Your Breath”

YOLY Challenge #18: Breathe for the Belly

This week’s challenge will allow us to linger on the solar plexus area for another week.  It also gives us a chance to return to the breath in our daily practice.

In normal breathing, the abdomen puffs out gently with the inhalation and moves back in as you exhale, while the rib cage doesn’t move as much. In reverse breathing, the belly moves in on the inhalation an out on the exhalation, and there is more movement occurring in the upper rib cage. body-1621161__340

Focus on your belly breath each day this week:

Step #1: Lie on your back. Place one hand on your abdomen and the other over your lower ribs. As you gently inhale and exhale, notice which way your hands are moving. Don’t try to change anything right now, just notice.

Step #2: Then inhale, and on the next exhalation gently contract your abdominal muscles, bringing your navel in the direction of your spine. With a little or no muscular effort, let your abdomen gently lift as you inhale. Breathe this way for a minute or so.

Step #3: Go back to your natural breathing rhythm. Observe any changes in your mind or body.