The fourth limb of yoga is pranayama, or regulation of breath. Breath work is fun, freeing, and fundamental.
Breath is literally boss of everything, life and death. You come into this world with your first breath, and are gone with your last. Breath is considered a subtle body energy and manifests through our physical bodies. There are many benefits of just breathing, much beyond the physical benefits many people think of such as lower blood pressures and heart rates. Breath work reduces stress in the body, mind and spirit, increases self-awareness, and helps move the life force through our bodies. Regulating your breath can be a parallel for how you regulate and balance your life.
You can’t really know your relationship with your breath until you try for yourself. If it feels uncomfortable to sit with your breath, that’s OK, just stick with it for a few minutes.
- Box breathing. Breath in for four seconds, hold that breath at the top for four seconds, exhale for four seconds, and hold at the bottom for four seconds. Can you increase to 5, 6…8 second boxes?!
- Bee Breath, is a funny one that you can do with kids. Press your two pointer fingers over your ear holes to block the sound. Hum as loud as you can.
- Ujjayi breath, or warrior breath. In and out through the nose, trying to make the ocean wave sound in the back of your throat. This is best coupled with a yoga asana practice, I sometimes find myself using ujjayi breath throughout the day as a reminder to breath (pause).
- Free Meditations on Vimeo. These are great if you don’t know where to start.
Pranayama Mantra: My healthy mind has an easy breath.
Comment below and share your favorite breathing exercises. Do you notice a difference in your mental clarity, bodily strength, and present moment awareness when you practice breathing?
Take a free yoga class! My classes are vinyasa style & incorporate LOTS OF BREATHING!
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