Are You Breathing? Are You Sure?
I frequently get the question, “What is Viniyoga and what makes it different?” Viniyoga is distinguished from other forms of yoga in several important ways, and the one I’ll discuss today is the breath.
The usual response when I say that Viniyoga focuses on the breath is “Well, we focus on breath during class too.” In other words … there’s nothing different about that.
Over the years I’ve attended non-Viniyoga classes and, yes, there usually is some mention of the breath at various times during the practice. It’s usually in the form of a reminder to breathe. But … it’s nothing like Viniyoga’s total focus on the breath throughout every posture.
Each posture originates on inhale or exhale and movement follows. Classically, the direction of the breath flows from chest to belly on inhale and belly to chest on exhale which is another big difference. Other forms of yoga reverse that direction. (see Direct Breath Flow & Improve Posture)
The flow of the breath and movement of the spine are linked and the effect of breath on the spine is fundamental. On inhale, the chest and rib cage expand and lift up from the navel as the spine lengthens and extends. On exhale, the belly contracts as the pubic bone pulls up toward the navel as the spine flexes. Unlike other forms of yoga ,the breath supports the spine throughout the movement.
In Viniyoga, breath moves the body. Think of it as movement from the inside out.
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