The physical practice of breath control has been part of my world since 1988. This is when I started synchronized swimming which was encouraged by my mom. As you can imagine, this sport focuses on breathing (or lack there of) in its training. I spent many sessions in the pool underwater (and at times up side down) perfecting my breath control. At my top fitness, I would swim 50 meters underwater (two lengths of the pool) without coming up for a breath!
At the time, I don't think I thought much about it, only that for me to be the best swimmer I could be, I needed good breath control.
Fast forward many years, to current day, and I still forget how powerful the breath is. Oh how we forget something that is automatic in our bodies!
This week was a complete write off for a physical asana practice. I won't bore you with the details but needless to say I didn't get a chance to even try. I did however work on my breath to ground me and make me feel like I did something this week!
Yogic breathing variations, as with types of yoga, is a lengthy list that you just can't cover in a post nor in a session. I have been fortunate to attend multiple classes (with different teachers) where breath work was the focus . I will save that commentary for another day and just highlight what breathing model was best fit for me this week.
I really needed to focus on relaxation and calm this week and thus, worked on a balanced breath. If you are not familiar, it ensures your inhalation is the same duration as your exhalation. For example, I would inhale for the count of five then match my exhale to the count of five. I quite enjoy expanding my breath and work towards a count of nine for each the inhale and exhale. I also find it very refreshing to think nourishment on the inhale (prana) and disposal of waste on the exhale (apana). Try it!
Notice what the balance breath can do? New air in and old air out.
I would be remiss if I didn't mention I also surprised myself this week while reading a new book, Inspire Me Well. Unbenounced to me, the chapter I was to read next had an extensive part on yoga. I have to share this quote from a local yoga teacher (who's classes I've attended before in the past) where it highlights using your breath to your advantage:
Notice what your body is feeling, notice where your mind wants to go. In yoga, like life, you find yourself in positions you do not want to be in - you witness them but never get too involved. Breathe through it, and you will be surprised to find your strengths.
Inspire Me Well, Finding Motivation to Take Control of Your Health; Chapter 6 pg. 77
Breath in, breath out.
Photo credit: eltpics
Aspiring Yoga Teacher
I've practiced yoga since I was a pre-teen and have always found it to keep me centered. I will be a teacher one day and this is my journey to discover teaching and practice.