TuneUpFitness Blog

Breathing Yoga Tune Up®

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In yoga we understand that breath is life.  Through the practice of mastering your breath you can master your life.  Thus we have a whole limb of yoga devoted to breath practice: pranayama.  In my article on the diaphragm I discussed the diaphragm as the primary muscle involved in respiration, thus in an effort to master our breath and our lives we must begin to explore the diaphragm and the breath.

I once had a student that was trying to learn yoga, so I went over the basics with her starting with sun salutations. Step 1, stand in tadasana.  Step 2, inhale and bring your arms over your head. Step 3, exhale as you bend forward.  We spent a long time working the first 3 steps because she was unable to distinguish between breathing in and breathing out.  She took short, choppy breaths and would exhale instead of inhale and vice versa.  As one might expect, her yoga practice and her life were both in disarray and she also suffered from some emotional problems.

The Yoga Tune Up® practice is about learning to organize your body and your practice so that you can understand how the breath and the body all work together.  After some frustrating sessions working on sun salutations, I decided we needed to focus on breathing without moving first because she was layering poor movements on top of poor breath and getting poor results.  Bringing it down to the floor and working the breath allowed her to focus her concentration on just breathing and get tuned in.  As the duration, depth and quality of her breathing improved, so did the rest of her practice as well as her emotional state.

If you’re feeling restless and need to calm down, try doing Belly Breaths with a Bolster (show below and also on the 10 Minute Quick Fix Stress Relief video).  Take a few minutes to unwind after a hard day or get yourself focused before moving on to something more challenging.

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