Category Archives: Yoga

Practice 3 Stunning Poses That Is Called The Breath Of Yoga! Learn To Perform These Unique Poses Correctly!

Tracey

Pranayama is the word Yogis use for Yogic breathing techniques. It is the Fourth limb of the Eight Limbs of Yoga. Pranayama is a Sanskrit word that is composed of two separate words, “Prana” which means “life force” and Ayama which means to “extend”, “draw out” or “suspend.” There are well over fifty different types of Yoga breathing techniques or Pranayama to practice that range from very simple and basic to complicated and advanced.

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All styles and lineages of Yoga include Pranayama. From Hatha to Restorative to alignment based practices like Iyengar and many more, especially Kundalini and Vinyasa you will encounter various prescribed breathing techniques which may accompany specific poses or be done on their own. The different types of Pranayama provide a variety physiological responses and characteristics. Certain types of breathing may be referred to with adjectives such as cooling, warming, calming or energizing.

The benefits of including mindful breathing techniques in your life are quite significant. Both scientific research and anecdotal evidence exist supporting the idea that daily breathing practices can even extend your life. There are many well-known health benefits of practicing Pranayama.

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Benefits:
Calming for the nervous system
Helps treat stress-related disorders like anxiety, panic disorder and depression
Improves mood and enhances perceptions
Strengthens will power & increases mindfulness
Relieves symptoms of asthma
Lowers blood pressure and heart rate
Good for the cardiorespiratory system and cardiopulmonary function
Changes the carbon dioxide levels in the bloodstream

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Three Pranayama Practices:

1. Ujjayi Breathing –
This is the most commonly used type of breath you will encounter and very likely also “hear” in a Yoga class. Even if it is difficult at first, your practice will grow because of it. Give it a try.

To start, take a full inhale through your nose and then exhale with control through an open mouth. Move your exhale across the back of your throat slowly while whispering a HAAAAA sound. Repeat this exercise a few times. The sound of the Ujjayi breath is made by toning the throat or vocal diaphragm and sounds a bit like a sigh.

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Now try it with your mouth closed. As you inhale and exhale through your nose, direct the breath again slowly across the back of your throat. You should hear, a soft hissing sound as if you were fogging a mirror. When you breathe through your nose both on the inhale and exhale the air will be both warmed and filtered. Focus on making your breath deliberate, smooth and even, this will create a relaxing and calming effect that will draw you into a meditative practice. At first making noise as you breathe may seem strange to you, but stick with it. Ujjayi breathing will greatly enhance your Yoga practice.

2. Vinyasa –
Vinyasa means “breath-synchronized movement.” Vinyasa yoga is a style of yoga that focuses on breathing in combination with your movement; it is a series of poses that will synchronize your asana with the power of the breath. Vinyasa movements are fluid and dance-like. Often Vinyasa Yoga is referred to as “Flow” or “Vinyasa Flow.” While you practice various asana, your focus will be on the breath. The breathing you use will typically be the Ujjayi breath that you learned about above. A general rule of thumb in Vinyasa is to inhale as poses reach up or move upward and to exhale in poses as they fold forward or descend. In a Vinyasa class, a teacher usually will cue the classes breathing with each pose. Vinyasa definitely takes repetition to learn, but eventually will feel like second nature in your Yoga practice. Sun Salutations are perfect for practicing Vinyasa.

3. Lion Pose or Simhasana –
This pose and breathing technique can be quite detoxifying. Start by kneeling on your mat with your knees about shoulder-width apart. Cross your right ankle over your left and gently sit back on your heels with your feet pointing outward. Sit tall lifting through your chest and the crown of your head as you elongate through your spine and maintain your calves flat on the mat.

Place both your hands on top of your knees and resist the urge to slouch. Widen your palms and splay your fingers like lion’s claws, pressing them against your knees firmly.

Take a deep inhale through your nose and then open your mouth as wide as possible while at the same time stretching your tongue out and and curling it down toward your chin. Simultaneously open your eyes wide and direct your gaze upward focusing on the space between your eyebrows or at the end of your nose. Send energy out your finger tips, splaying them out even further as you contract the muscles in the front of your throat. While you are holding this position slowly exhale through your wide-open mouth. Let the air slowly pass over the back of your throat, like the Ujjayi Breath, you will hiss the HAAAAA sound. This is your lions roar! Make it count. Roar two to three times before retracting your tongue and relaxing your face and uncrossing your ankles.

Now cross your ankles the opposite way with the left over the right and repeat Lion Pose on the other side.

Pranayama is the gateway to your relaxation response and arguably the most important of the eight limbs of Yoga. It isn’t easy at first but the more you practice the more natural it becomes. Try not to be self-conscious about breathing audibly, your practice will be greatly enhanced as a result of these practices. You stand to gain deeper relaxation, greater flexibility, increased focus and so much more.

Caution: Practice Pranayama gently without being too forceful or overly aggressive with your inhale or exhale.

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9 Absolutely Powerful Core Yoga Poses That Will Skyrocket Your Practice And Make It The Envy Of Every Yogis!

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Yoga and meditation are about something different for everyone who practices. It is becoming widely understood that Yoga and meditation are wonderful tools for alleviating stress, anxiety and even sleeplessness. It is also no secret that it can also be used for sculpting a toned physique. Asana, or the Yoga poses that we commonly think of in the Western world help people develop greater strength, flexibility, balance and overall better body awareness. Keep in mind that the foundation of an effective Yoga or Meditation program is the breath. One key to developing a great core through your practice is by matching your breath with your movement in a Vinyasa style. Here is a quick sequence with some of the best poses for developing a functionally strong core.

Warm up:
Start by sitting in Easy Pose and taking three long, slow, deep breaths and feel you breath drop down to the base of your abdomen. Each time you exhale try to make it last longer than the time before, controlling and suspending your breath. It can be helpful to place your hand on your abdomen as you breathe for greater awareness.

– Cat/Cow X 5 – In a table position alternate between inhaling and drawing your spine up like a Halloween cat and then curving the spine down like a bovine while exhaling.

– Sunbird X 10 – in combination with Tiger Stretches – In your table pose with a neutral spine, extend forward with your right arm and extend back with your left leg. Send energy forward through your fingertips and back through your toes, lengthening through your spine. Contract and draw your knee and your elbow toward your midline before extending them out long again. Do this ten times in a row on one side and then switch to your opposite arm and leg. Each time inhale as you extend out and exhale as you contract.

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Sun Salutations:
Do three Sun Salutations, each time being conscious of drawing your navel to your spine and drawing your heart towards the tops of your legs. Inhale when you come up and exhale as you fold forward.

Chair / Utkatasana x 2:
– Chair with a twist – Come into chair, draw your navel to your spine and your palms together. Twist bringing your left elbow towards your right knee and keeping your hands together in prayer. Hold the pose for five breath cycles. Repeat on the other side and then do the same series again performing the pose on each side twice.

A Balance Pose X 2:
Balance poses will strengthen your core like none other, truly providing you with functional strength. Two of the most core intensive balance poses are Warrior III or Virabhdrasana III and Half Moon or Ardha Chandrasana. Choose your own adventure here or do both poses. It is impossible to perform either of these poses successfully without engaging your abdominal muscles. Perform your balance pose twice on each side and notice if it improves the second time. Remember to continue breathing even while you are balancing.

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Boat/Navasana & Paripurna Navasana X 5:
Lay on your abdomen with your forehead on the floor, draw your navel toward your spine and reach through your finger tips in front of you and your toes behind you in a Superman looking pose. Lift and lower your torso and legs, inhaling as you lift and exhaling as you lower. Do this five times.

Seated Boat – Sit on the floor with your knees bent and extend up through your feet, lift through your ribs and the crown of your head bringing your body into a V while continuing to bring your belly button toward your spine. Your arms reach out in front of you and you gaze forward at your fingertips. Inhale on your way up and exhale on the way down. Repeat this action five times.

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Knee Down Twist / Jathara Parivartanasana X 4:
Recline on your back and draw your knees into your chest. Extend your arms out to the sides, like a T. Gently guide your legs toward the ground on the right side, turn your head and gaze out over the left hand. Engaging your abdominals, draw your knees back to center. Perform the pose on the opposite side. Repeat the pose four times on each side, inhaling as you bring your legs back toward your center and exhaling as you release them to the side. Stay in each twist for a duration of two breath cycles.

Corpse Pose / Savasana:
Always end your practice with a well deserved Savasana. Allow your whole body to relax as you imagine melting into the mat and then returning to your breath. Allow your belly to rise and fall with each breath. Let any other sounds just wash over you as you listen to the sound of your breath. Set a gentle timer for Savasana or stay there as long as you need.

There are many different Yoga poses can be used to develop a strong core. Remember to breathe and move with your breath and you will build beautiful functional core strength.

Tracey

 

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