Friday, June 22, 2012
Yoga-Aahhhhhhh! Expand your Inhale, Exhale, Lungs and Life!
Stop fearing death and start loving life. The difference between life and death is simply the breath. You come into this world with an inhale and leave with an exhale.
One of the first things you learn in yoga is the Ujjayi Pranayama, otherwise known as the Victorious Breath. It makes perfect sense that the victor is the last one standing. Proper breathing expands your lungs and expands your life.
The difference between a yogi and a gymnast or contortionist is the breath. Although breathing happens naturally, it is known that without any mind, the average person breaths only one-eighth of their capacity. This results in fast, short breaths. The quicker the inhale, the less fresh-oxygenated blood that can enter the blood stream. The quicker the exhale, the less poisonous carbon dioxide can leave. This means the blood and body are not as pure as they could be.
The breath can be broken down into 3 types: Abdominal, Middle or Rib, and Chest. Yogic breath combines all three into one harmonious breath taking the lungs to maximum capacity on the inhale and contracting to expel optimally on the exhale.
Practicing conscious breathing for ten minutes a day will increase your vitality and energy levels. Simply practice sitting up nice and tall with a long spin. Begin with abdominal breathing and then middle breathing before trying chest breathing and then combine all three.
To begin, place one hand on your lower belly and inhale through your nose to feel your belly expand like a balloon. As you exhale, feel your belly draw back toward your spine. Next, contract your belly and breathe into feel your ribcage expand, exhale and notice it contract. Finally, breath only into your collarbones to feel the short and uncomfortable inhale and exhale here. Now combine all three. Breathe into the nose and feel the air go down to expand the chest, ribcage and belly Then exhale and like you are squeezing the last bit out of a tube of toothpaste and feel the belly collapse, the ribs contract and the collarbones relax.
At first, this breath requires mind, but with daily practice you will develop muscle memory and this will become natural. The health, wealth and happiness rewards are infinite. Keeping the body lubricated with freshly-oxygenated breath will keep you dis-ease and disease free. Yoga-ahhhhhhhhh!
Enjoy your victorious breathing time. It can be done anywhere anytime. Consider adding your daily mantra~ I am Happy Healthy and Fit as your practice your breath. Being Happy Healthy and Fit means living each day as a warrior enjoying beautiful Victorious Ujjayi Pranayama!