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Get Going in the Morning

I blog a lot about the benefits of the breath in asana practice and pranayama. As any of my students can attest, I’m fascinated with how the breath is used in yoga. It has life altering benefits when practiced appropriately and consistently.

The breath is divided into four parts: inhalation; retention (pause after inhale); exhalation; and suspension (pause after exhale) The way these parts are combined affects energy levels.

The inhalation and retention are the more energetic, expansive and invigorating parts of the breath. But, the effect is not stimulating like a jolt of caffeine. It’s a focused energy that doesn’t cause you to crash later.

Using the breath to manage energy is one of the benefits of seated pranayama. For example, the four parts could be combined into a ratio of inhalation for 6 seconds; retention for 4 seconds; exhalation for 6 seconds; and suspension for 0 seconds. The inhalation and retention counts total 10 seconds which is greater than the exhalation and suspension counts totaling 6 seconds, making it more energizing. This ratio would be a good combination to help get going in the morning.

A few caveats:

  1. The length of exhale always needs to be equal to or greater than the inhale and equal to or greater than retention. It’s very stressful for the heart pump to do otherwise.
  2.  Pranayama is best practiced after asana practice or some sort of movement like a walk.
  3.  It is okay for retention to be longer than inhale just not longer than exhale.
  4.  Don’t do an energizing breath ratio before bed. You may not be able to sleep.

The choice of asana also impacts energy levels and we’ll explore that topic next week.

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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