"Anyone can breathe, therefore anybody can practice yoga."
T. K. V. Desikachar
At Yoga For Modern Life I welcome everyone, whether they're just starting their yoga journey or whether they've got more experience under their belt. I believe yoga isn't all about touching your toes, fancy balances or headstands. It’s fundamentally about the breath and using it to reconnect with yourself, and to the present moment. Advanced poses may be exciting and challenging but they are impossible to achieve, and pointless, without the power of the breath. That amazing, transformative and incredible tool that every living creature is blessed to have is the key to opening up your yoga practice. Give it some love and attention. Wherever you are on your yoga journey, remember to tune into your breath - it's the anchor of yoga and the easiest and most yogic practice of them all.
Earlier this week I put a lovely animation onto the Yoga For Modern Life Facebook page (@yogaformodernlife), that helps you connect your breath into a steady even pattern. Here's another breathing exercise to try:
Four part breathing. The breath doesn't just consist of an inhale and an exhale. It has four parts, which include the subtle pauses between the in-breath and the out-breath. Four part breathing cultivates a fuller breath cycle, which can lower the heart rate and soothe the nervous system:
- Lie down comfortably on your back and let you whole body relax. Inhale slowly thorough your nose. Feel your breath pouring into your lower lungs and abdominal area, gradually rising to fill the upper lungs and chest.
- At the top of the in-breath notice a soft pause, as if you were going over the brow of a hill.
- As you exhale through your nose, feel your lungs emptying. Notice how the energy descends and your body releases to the floor.
- Once the out breath is complete, feel the natural pause that follows and briefly relax into that complete passivity, emptiness and calm.
- Repeat this breathing for a minute or two, keeping the breath soft and slow, and making sure that there is no strain in the breathing at all.
- Enjoy the easy flowing rhythm and gentle pause of nothingness.