Yoga Breathing Exercises
Although we are breathing all the time, conscious breathing techniques take a little time to master. Be patient and curious, and remember that with mastering your breath comes mastering your mind, mood, and movement. Here is one tip as you get started: Yoga masters believe that the exhalation is the most important part of the breath, since it makes space for the inhale. While it may feel counterintuitive, begin each breathing exercise with a deep exhale.
Simple Supine Belly Breath.
The first step to cultivating better breathing habits is to practice tuning into your breath while lying down on your back. This way, your body is at ease and you can completely focus on the breath. I love to do this breathing practice in bed first thing in the morning and at night while unwinding from the day. It relieves anxiety and stress and floods the body with prana, leaving you refreshed and relaxed. Known as diaphragmatic breathing, it transforms shallow chest breathing to the body’s natural relaxation response. It also melts away tension from the shoulders and neck caused by constricted breathing and massages the heart. Practice this breathing technique first before trying more complex breathing practices. The Simple Supine Belly Breath doesn’t have to be done lying down; use this breath in all your practices and throughout the day.
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1 Begin by lying down on your back on your mat. You can place a rolled-up blanket under your knee to release your lower back.
2 Place one hand on your belly and one on your chest, and begin to breathe in and out through your nose with your mouth closed, simply paying attention to your inhalations and exhalations.
3 As you inhale, breathe into your belly and feel it rise and expand away from the spine. As you exhale, draw in your ribs a little and empty out all of the air.
4 Now slow down your breath and inhale for a count of 4. Pause for 1 to 2 counts and then exhale fo.
5 Practice this daily, for about 3 to 5 minutes in the morning and at night, or anytime you feel anxious stressed, or tired. It’s like a mini-retreat.