Yoga is not only about getting exercise and stretching your muscles, but it's also about your spirit. It's a time when you can slow down, focus, and use long, deep breathing to relax your inner self and your physical being at the same time. This creates a great amount of balance and energy flowing through you on all levels that will last throughout the entire day and beyond.
How often do you just relax and focus on your breath? If you are still for a few moments and take long deep breaths, you'll notice you instantly (and almost magically) feel better. This is because the air gets a chance to really move through your body instead of going in and out in quick puffs. The same is true when you're doing yoga. There are many benefits to this practice, and here are just a few:
1. Long deep breathing releases toxins. Your body has many mechanisms to eliminate unwanted waste, and the lungs hold a special place in these functions. By taking in and letting out slow deep breaths, your lungs fully expand and contract, forcing out any waste products, helping to detoxify the body.
2. Breathing has several functions, one of them being the forcing of blood to the cells of the body. Breathing deeply during yoga practice sends the blood to all those parts of the body you are using and stretching, meaning fresh blood and oxygen are reaching all the places they are most needed.
3. It balances your emotions. Deep breaths slow down your mind, allowing it to focus more clearly. This will help boost not only your cognitive thought but also your emotions.
4. It reduces stress. Combined with yogic movements, long slow breaths are one of the best things you can do to relieve stress. When you're stressed, you tend to feel rushed. Doing this practice gives your spirit permission to slow down, appreciate the moment ,and focus on feeling good instead of on what needs to be done next.
5. Breathing with intent strengthens your lungs, as it lets them work the way nature intended. Because of this, it also takes a great deal of the workload away from your heart, since the lungs are sending cleaner air (and thereby cleaner blood) to the heart. The healthier the blood going to your heart, the stronger it can become.
So how do you do this type of breathing? It's really very simple. As you go through your yogic movements, be mindful to breathe into your abdomen. Focus on your navel as if it is receiving the air - slowly in, then slowly out. Your abdomen should rise with each intake of breath.
If you've never done this before, you may notice a buzzing or tingling sensation moving throughout your body or head at first. This feeling means oxygen is flowing to your cells and nourishing your muscles, nerves and organs. It's a wondrous thing!
By Jane Everhart; All Rights Reserved @2016