Relaxation with Yoga Breathing

How do YOU define a healthy lifestyle?

Relaxation with yoga breathing is just one of the benefits of yoga that you will find as your practice naturally blends into daily life. Even when I am not actively practicing yoga, I use yoga breathing to relax during my day. This is to be expected since deep breathing relaxation methods are used to manage stress.

Breathe In

In yoga, you want to breathe in through the nose. You should avoid belly breathing and rather expand your chest to open your lungs. When you are engaging your core, it is impossible to belly breathe. In vinyasa yoga the breath moves with the poses. When a pose is difficult, you will often find you hold your breath. As in life, the difficult times require you to keep breathing when the instinct is the opposite.

Breathe Out

You want to breathe out through the nose as well, and it is a forceful exhalation that produces a whooshing sound. A new yogini must find the heavy breathing in class a bit odd. This is called ouija breathing, which warms the body and improves oxygen usage.

More air is forced out of the lungs with this breathing. You will find your body instantly feels more relaxed. This powerful breathing relaxation technique creates a sense of 'blowing off steam'.

Often in class we will do cleansing breaths. They are exhaled through the mouth, often accompanied by a sighing sound. These sighs are timed right after more intense exertions in the practice. Translation: when feeling stressed or after finishing a major task, try using a deep sigh to let go and relax.

In my daily life, I will automatically find myself practicing deep breathing relaxation. The relaxation with yoga breathing from practice has created this automatic response for me. Without consciously trying, I will begin taking deeper breaths when I need it most. Occasionally I catch myself holding my breath when tense, and this gives me the opportunity to switch to deeper breathing.

Instructors often say a single, conscious breath constitutes a yoga practice. It is nice to experience stress management from yoga not only in class, but crossing over into the real world. Relaxation with yoga breathing will become automatic for you after practicing a while. Yoga: the only breathing relaxation technique you'll ever need.

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Jennifer Pereira MA, RD, LD, CSCS, LPC - WISE Therapist & Dietitian

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