In my previous articles I discussed the diaphragm and its function in breathing.  Then I looked at a simple breath exercise where you could really focus your attention on the breath and the diaphragm.  Now we look at a more dynamic breathing exercise that combines breath and movement.

The promise of vinyasa yoga is that evenly metered breath coupled with evenly metered movement results in an evenness of mind.  In my last article I discussed a student of my mine that couldn’t control her breath and thus her practice really suffered.  After teaching her to focus on her breath we had to layer on good movements.  We began with the Yoga Tune Up® exercise called Bridge Lifts.  Doing Bridge Lifts is a mindfulness exercise that develops awareness of both breath and body.  While doing this exercise become aware of how the movement of the arms overhead increases the volume of the thoracic cavity and promotes a deeper breath.After mastering Bridge LIfts, my student’s practice was profoundly improved.  Her sun salutations acquired a new element of grace and poise that were not there before.

Layering on good movement on top of good breaths is surprisingly difficult.  The breath should always come first.  Once the breath is full and deep, then add the movement.  The Bridge Lifts are a deceptively simple exercise.  It seems almost too easy until you try it and realize that truly synchronizing movement with breath is more challenging than it seems at first blush.  This exercise builds mastery over the breath and movement. I’ve included the video clip below, and it’s also available on the Quick Fix for Stress Relief 10 minute video.

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