When exhaling, try to compress the lower belly first by pulling the navel up and back toward the spine and slowly move the exhalation upward until the upper chest is the last to exhale.Ardha Uttanasana Pose Yoga Another common pranayama exercise for practicing asanas is kapalabhati breathing.Ardha Uttanasana Pose Yoga I have found it most useful, in my experience, in postures such as matsyasana, fish pose, or jjurvottanasana, the intense east stretch.
In Kundalini Yoga, breath of fire or kapalabhati is practiced in many asanas. This type of rigorous breathing technique is believed to awaken dormant kundalini shakti energy at the base of the spine, which then spirals upward to the crown of the head, or sabasrara chakra, hence the literal translation of the name, skull shining. Another purpose of the breath is as a tool that helps keep the mind focused when meditating.
As we will learn in the upcoming chapter on meditation, focusing on the breath is a good exercise, specifically by concentrating on achieving a continuous and steady breath-flow between exhaling and inhaling, just as in the Astanga Vinyasa Yoga asana practice mentioned earlier. Focusing on the breath itself not only has a very calming effect, it is also incredibly rejuvenating for the soul.