The Power of Yoga Breathing: How to Breathe Deeply and Slowly
The Importance of Yoga Breathing
If you've ever taken a yoga class, you've probably heard your teacher emphasize the importance of breathing. But why is it so crucial. In this article, we'll explore the science behind yoga breathing and how it can enhance your practice.
Breathing Through Your Nose
One of the key aspects of yoga breathing is breathing through your nose. This has several benefits for your nervous system. When you breathe through your nose, it sends a signal to your body that you're calm and collected, helping to downregulate your stress response and activate your parasympathetic rest and digest response. Additionally, breathing through your nose filters the air, helping to remove allergens and control the temperature and humidity of the air you breathe.
The Power of Deep Breathing
In a yoga class, you'll often be encouraged to breathe deeply. This means doubling the volume of your breath, inhaling and exhaling about a liter of air per breath. By breathing more deeply, you're able to slow down your breathing rate, from around 12-15 breaths per minute to just 5-6 breaths per minute. This slower, deeper breathing has a profound effect on your nervous system, allowing you to manage stress more effectively.
The Ujjayi Breathing Technique
One of the distinctive aspects of yoga breathing is the ujjayi technique. This involves creating a whispering sound in the back of your throat as you breathe. The glottis, a small opening in your throat, is partially closed off to create this sound. The ujjayi breathing technique helps to enhance control over your breath and has a calming effect on your nervous system, similar to humming or chanting.
Putting It Into Practice
Now that you understand the importance of yoga breathing, it's time to put it into practice. Start by finding a comfortable seated position and focus on breathing through your nose. Try to make the whispering sound in the back of your throat as you inhale and exhale deeply. As you move through your yoga poses, maintain this deep, slow breathing pattern to cultivate a sense of calm and relaxation.
Yoga breathing is a powerful tool for managing stress and cultivating a sense of calm. By breathing through your nose, taking deep breaths, and using the ujjayi technique, you can enhance the benefits of your yoga practice. Remember to focus on the quality of your breath and allow it to guide you through your practice.