Working with the breath.
The essence of Yoga is breathing, so get to know your breath. Conscious breathing with each yoga posture brings focus and stillness to the mind. Good, effortless breathing is restorative and healing, helping to keep your postures alive and present. The more awareness you bring to your breath, the easier you will connect with the breath. Your breathing will become easier and you will find it becomes a guide to measure your yoga practice. As your breath steadies so will your asana (posture) practice. Allow your breath to be round and smooth during asanas. At any point if the breath becomes jagged or shallow, see it as a sign to ease off the intensity in your yoga practice. What might help is to incorporate warming breath (ujjayi breathing). If using warming breath feels unnatural, let it go and return to steady natural breathing.
In Yoga breathing tends mainly to be through the nostrils. Breathing through the nose filters and warms the air before it enters the lungs. This helps to stroke the internal heat generated by yoga postures. Allow your breathing to become intuitive and natural. Listed below are a few general pointers to help understand when to emphasise the inhale and exhale:
INHALATION comes more naturally: When you come into a pose . When raising the arms. Or while twisting the upper back. Or expanding the chest (when in a backbend for example). Generally EXHALE comes more naturally: When moving downwards. Lowering the arms or legs. Bending forward or sideways, Or twisting the lower back.
Yoga is deeply personal and remember the most important thing to do in Yoga is to breath in a comfortable way that suits you and your pace. Any time you experience difficulty or discomfort in a posture or a breathing technique always return to steady natural breathing.