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2 Popular Yoga Breathing Exercises To Improve Your Yoga Practice

Have you noticed that when you practice yoga, your yoga teacher constantly reminds you to stay focused on your breath, 'to relax and breathe into the pose or simply be still and observe your breath? As you are aware, yoga breathing exercises are an essential part of your yoga practice. Your breath is the source of all your energy. Have you noticed that when you are stressed, anxious or worried your breath is shallow, or when you are excited you breathe faster? However, if you take deep breaths when excited you become calmer and your heart rate slows down. Yoga is a journey and the more in tune you are with your breath the easier it becomes for you to regulate and control your emotions. Learning to breathe well is vital in your quest to live a healthier, richer life. When you breathe well you radiate and fill your body with abundant energy, if the breath is shallow and poor, your energy is restricted and you lack motivation to achieve the things you wish to do. From a yogic perspective, your breath is the link between your mind and your body. When you learn to control your breath your body becomes steady and you are able to calm your mind and feel at peace. There are many yogic breathing exercises you can practice to bring about this state of union between your mind and body. Two of the more popular breathing techniques are Kapalabhati and Anuloma Viloma (Alternate Nostril Breathing).


As with all exercises, please consult your doctor before starting these breathing exercises and exercise caution and patience when practicing them. If you feel light headed, dizzy or unwell, please stop, rest and return to normal breathing Two Popular Yoga Breathing Exercises to Improve Your Yoga Practice 1. Kapalabhati - Shining Skull. Although a breathing exercise, Kapalabhati is considered a yoga kriyas or cleansing exercise. However Kapalabhati is regularly practiced in yoga classes. This exercise uses rapid breathing, which encourages a fresh exchange of oxygen rich air whilst cleansing the entire respiratory system. Kapalabhati consists of a series of rapid exhalations and passive inhalations, followed by retention of the breath. This clears stale air from the bottom of the lungs and pumps oxygen into the bloodstream. It is an energizing yoga breathing practice which leaves you feeling energised and alert yet calm. Sit in a comfortable upright sitting position and take a couple of deep breaths. Inhale and breath out quickly, pulling your abdomen in sharply. Repeat this pumping action for 20 - 40 breaths. Inhale slowly and deeply. Exhale completely. Inhale and hold your breath for as long as you feel comfortable. Slowly exhale. Repeat this sequence 2 - 3 times. 2. Anuloma Viloma - Alternate Nostril Breathing This is a very calming breathing practice. It helps to balance the energies between the left and right sides of the body. As it balances the flow the flow of energy in the body Anuloma Viloma helps to purify and cleanse the nadis. Each round of Anuloma Viloma is made up of 6 steps. Begin by sitting in a comfortable upright position. Using your right hand, tuck your index and middle fingers into your palm. Place your thumb on your right nostril, and your ring finger and little fingers on your left nostril. Rest your left hand on your left knee.


A. Close your right nostril with your thumb, breathe in through your left nostril for a count of four. B. Close both nostrils and retain the breath for a count of 16. C. Breathe out through your right nostril, keeping the left nostril closed with your ring and little fingers for a count of 8. D. Breathe in through your right nostril, keeping the left nostril closed for a count of 4. E. Hold the breath, closing both nostrils again for a count of 16. Breathe out through the left nostril, keeping the right closed with your thumb for a count of 8. If you are new to Anuloma Viloma, just spend a few rounds getting used to breathing in and out through your nose using the different hand positions. Regular practice of Kapalabhati and Anuloma Viloma will encourage full deep breathing which over time strengthens your ability to hold and maintain your yoga exercises and prepares you to sit for longer periods of meditation. About Author

Janet Suzanna has been a fitness and yoga instructor for over 4 years. For more information regarding Yoga, check out her site where she will provide the best online Yoga course and additional tips on how to learn Yoga.

2 Popular Yoga Breathing Exercises To Improve Your Yoga Practice  

Have you noticed that when you practice yoga, your yoga teacher constantly reminds you to stay focused on your breath, 'to relax and breathe...

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