Let me share with you today one of the most important things I have learned in my yoga practice. Breathing is one of our most vital functions. Breathing is life. Pranayama or breathing exercises is one of the 5 principles of yoga which promotes proper breathing. Proper breathing is to bring more oxygen to the blood and to the brain and to control “Prana” or the vital life energy in a yogic point of view. Pranayama also goes hand in hand with the Asanas (postures). The union of these two yogic principles is considered as the highest form of purification and self-discipline. It covers both the mind and the body.
It is very important to practice all the asanas in your yoga practice with awareness of the breath. Linking respiration with the movements enhances the practice as well as improving our concentration. This is one of the reasons why yoga is much more than just physical exercise. As a general rule, an upwards movement is done on inhalation and is used to lift out of a posture. While a downwards movement is generally done on exhalation – to release tension. Exhalation is also used to relax into a posture.
Try to breathe freely and not hold the breath while in a posture as this will create tension in the body and prevent relaxation into the asana. One should breathe in and out through the nostrils throughout all the asanas.
Another important thing to remember is to listen to our body. The body will tell you when it is feeling uncomfortable or under stress. In our daily lives, messages from the body are often ignored so that tasks can be completed. How often have we pushed ourselves to do one more thing before taking a break? In yoga, one should be more mindful and if a posture or movement feels wrong or painful then gently come out of it and rest for a moment.
If you have questions about pranayama please feel free to leave me a comment below and I will be happy to get back to you. I’ve had people ask me where I practice yoga here in Iloilo, I can answer you guys better if you leave me a comment instead. Namaste.