How to breathe into your yoga

Published: Oct 7, 2016 by Lucy Tennyson

We began last week’s class with thinking about how we use the breath,  taking time to explore the simple action of inhale/exhale, and how movement follows the breath, and not the other way around.

Taking the simple example of just inhaling the arms up and exhaling down: we start breathing first, then the movement up of the arms starts afterwards. Similarly we start breathing out just before we start to lower the arms.

This attention to the breath makes yoga different from other forms of exercise. I’ve been mentioning yoga teacher and writer Leslie Kaminoff a lot after attending his workshop in Cambridge. He says “You could be doing something on a yoga mat that looks like yoga practice but you could be not paying attention to your breath, your mind can be wandering, you could be doing a hundred other things in your own head, while your body is going through the postures. I don’t think that’s yoga. By definition, if the mind and body are being brought together through the breath then I think it’s yoga, and it’s spiritual.”

The sketches below are intended to remind you of what we did in class last week if you’d like to practise at home, remembering to keep your focus on the breath. Start with a gentle warm up, and if you’ve time try to include a balance such as tree posture as well as cat and downward dog, and see if you can lie in relaxation for 5 minutes at the end.


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