The Art of Breathing

In Yoga breath work is an essential part of the practice, the art of breathing  can help students to balance their body and mind.

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 your body.

Mental and Physical Wellbeing

Whether you practice yoga or not, the art of breathing is key for mental and physical wellbeing. Ideally when we focus on breathing, we want the breath to be round and smooth. At any point if the breath becomes jagged or shallow, see it as a sign to ease off the intensity, this could be from anxious thoughts or physical stress on the body.

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. Allowing the  breathing to become intuitive and natural helps to declutter our thoughts. Yoga texts often comment if the breath wanders, so does the mind. Keeping attention on the breath throughout the day, helps focus our scattered thoughts.

Practice Breath Work everyday

Each day spend a few minutes focussing on the breath. Not only will it help relax you, and soothe the nervous system, it can also help with better sleep. Here’s a short practice, set your timer to do this for three to five minutes each day.

  1. Begin seated or lying down.
  2. You can place one hand on the ribs, and the other hand on the belly.
  3. Soften the shoulders, the lips, mouth and eyes.
  4. Take a soft sigh out through the mouth, or nose.
  5. Now pay attention to the breath, no need to change the pattern of the breath.
  6. Notice the pattern of the breath – how is it?
  7. Take your time, bring simple awareness to your breathing.
  8. Focus on the breath entering and leaving the nostrils.
  9. Now, bring the attention to the inhalation.
  10. Then focus on the the exhalation.
  11. Begin to count the inhalation  – two or up four counts.
  12. The same with the exhalation -counting up to two or four times.
  13. This is one round,  inhalation and exhalation.
  14. Continue with this practice, no need to rush the practice.
  15. No forcing off the breath. Simply paying attention.

As well as being a Psychologist, Jasminder is a Yoga teacher and runs a Yoga teacher training School at Bahia Yoga. Jasminder is leading a three part series on the Yoga of Breathing during June, July and August, 2020.