How To Use Your Breath In Asana Practice
Every yoga teacher may have his or her own priority and style, which relates to when to inhale as well as exhale during a yoga asana.
It might be a practice, which is not completely standardized but should be given much attention. Breathing is very important in any yoga practice, and this is why most yogi takes it seriously.
However, you may agree with me that some students do not know how to breathe well, or cannot utilize the best style or technique to breathe during their practice. It is not their fault, because they are just starting.
You do not have to be perfect to do this but with the right information, you can do it successfully.
Yoga Breathing or Pranayama is the foundation of your yoga practice. It begins with deepening your breathing with the 3-part breath, then moves into more advanced breathing exercises such as Kapalabhati and the Alternate Nostril Breath.
Pranayama also goes hand in hand with the Asanas. These two Yogic Principles together are considered as the highest form of purification and self-discipline, covering both mind and body
Breath During Yoga Poses
Let us take a close look at some of the simple guidelines for pairing breath with different types of poses.
Exhale when bending forward
When you exhale, your lungs would be empty. This will make your torso to become more compact thus causing the physical mass that is between your upper and lower body to be reduced, as they move towards each other. In addition, your heart rate will also slow down as you exhale.
This will make it less activating than what you experience during inhalation. However, it will also induce a relaxation response. However, due to the fact that forward bends are relatively involved postures that are quieting, this breathing rule will help to enhance the energetic effects of the pose and the depth of the fold.
Inhale when lifting or opening your chest
Take for instance when you perform a heart-opening backbend, you automatically increase the space that is in your chest cavity, thereby giving areas like the lungs, rib cage as well as the diaphragm, more opportunity to fill up with air.
In addition, your heart rate will also speed up on an inhalation, which will, in turn, increase your mental alertness and pump more blood to your muscles.
Also, do not forget that deep inhalation needs a muscular effort that makes contributes to its activating process.
However, yoga poses that help to lift and open your chest is in most cases, are the energizing constituents of the practice. Therefore, synchronizing them with inhalations takes optimum advantage of the breath's effects on the body.
Exhale when twisting
When you twist, the inhalation that your performed will accompany the preparation phase of the pose, which includes lengthening the spine, etc.
However, the exhalation is paired with the twisting action as well.
Looking at it from the angle of your posture, this occurs due to the fact that as your lungs empty itself; there is more available physical space for your rib cage to rotate further.