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Where is My Breath?

This week guest blogger, Sue Everton, continues our discussion on the breath. Welcome, Sue. and thank you for your insights.

Because of the importance of the breath and the spine in Viniyoga, the practitioner will want to be able to translate the impact of the breath on the spine throughout the practice; chest expansion with inhale, abdominal compression during exhale. Also consider the three-dimensionality of the breath on your body? 

To experience this three-dimensionality, begin by lying down.  Be comfortable; perhaps a pillow under your knees?  Place a hand on your chest and on your abdomen.  When you inhale, notice how the hand on your chest rises, feel the expansion and lift of the ribs and see if you can feel your back expand a little into the floor.  The back expansion is the third dimension of the breath and may take practice and familiarity before you discover it.  You may notice that the spine seems to get a tiny bit longer during inhale.  This is an important function of the relationship of the spine and breath; it allows an off-loading/lifting of the daily downward pressure that our spines experience.  This small lift of the spine also provides more room for the nerves that pass through the spine, providing nerve protection during the practice.

 Now, focus on the exhale.  Notice that the hand on your abdomen will move down toward the mat with exhale.  This movement allows the muscles of the abdomen to provide stability to our fragile lower spine during practice.  Also, you may notice a stretching of the lower spine allowing for nerve relief and improved low-back flexibility.

The breath and its associated natural movement protects your back during yoga activities, promoting spinal flexibility and nerve protection.  Use each breath that you take during your practice to find the incredible breath-spine relationship!  No matter how challenging the posture, if you use the breath to precede the movement into the pose, you will promote mindful stability and enhance and protect the health of your spine.

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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