Control Your Breath, Control Your Mind.

Control Your Breath, Control Your Mind.

The breath is so important in a physical yoga practice. The yogis say, “if you can control your breath, you can control your mind.” Breathe deeply. Breathe down into the belly. This is called diaphragmatic breathing. Breathe into the side ribs. This is called costal breathing. Yogic breathing is often described as a combination of these two types of breathing. You want your breath to be long and slow. But you don’t want to fill the lungs so much that the collar bones lift and the upper chest lifts up towards the neck. This is called clavicular breathing. It is not recommended during your yoga practice. It stimulates the nervous system and is usually only used when the body is starving for oxygen. Breathe in and out through the nose. Let the breath lead you into the movement in your practice. Let the body follow the breath. Krishnamacharya says, “Let the breath be the Guru and the body be the disciple.” Ujjayi pranayama is very balancing. It can be performed in any asana. The Ujjayi pranayama is used to control the breath and slow it down. We can’t control the breath at the nostrils without using our fingers. But we can control the breath by constructing the throat muscles, as if we are sipping the breath through a tiny straw.

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Keep the breath slow and controlled.

Keep the breath slow and controlled.

Krishnamacharya said, “the breath is the Guru and the body is the disciple.” Keep the breath slow and controlled. The yogis would say — if you can control your breath you can control your mind. Think of the breath as leading the movement and wrapping around the movement. If you start the breath and then begin moving and you finish moving and then finish the breath you will never get ahead of yourself. Think of your practice like a dance between movement and stillness. Ujjayi breath is the only pranayama that is safe to practice in any asana. Use the Ujjayi breathing technique to slow your breath down. If the asana and the intensity of the asana helps train the mind to concentrate, the breath can help you to stay calm, surrender, and let go. Breathe into the discomfort you feel in challenging poses and deep stretches. The breath will help you release the tension and let it go. 

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