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Breathing in Postures

It can be easy to hold the breath during yoga practice without even realizing it – especially during challenging postures. In the Viniyoga tradition, breath is fundamental to an effective asana practice so holding it is counter to the purpose of practice.

In my blog – Direct Breath Flow & Improve Posture – I discuss the mechanics of chest to belly breathing and that it can be used during asana and pranayama practice. Let’s delve a little deeper into how to use the breath while moving in a posture.

A primary intention for doing a yoga practice is to understand what’s happening in our bodies. It helps us answer questions  such as: Where am I holding tension? Is one area weaker than the other? What movements help reduce stress? What sensations am I feeling, where, why?

And, it is the breath that allows us to bring our attention “inside” our bodies so that we can answer these questions. Specifically, breath brings our attention to our spine and helps us move the spine.

During asana practice, according to Viniyoga, inhalation originates in the chest. The chest, sternum and rib cage lift and expand away from the navel which lengthens the spine and improves posture. On the other hand, exhalation originates in the belly by contracting and pulling the pubic bone toward the navel. Keeping the belly firm helps stabilize the pelvis and lumbar spine.

So, unless contraindicated, expand your chest on inhalation and contract your belly on exhalation to experience the full benefits of your practice.     

Joanne Thompson

Joanne Thompson

Founder/Owner at Yoga for Self

Health is a precious gift and my goal is to help you live a healthier, happier life through yoga. Every private session is uniquely designed just for you. For a free telephone consultation call me at 303.818.4181. Discover whether personalized, private yoga instruction is right for you.
Joanne Thompson

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