Is your breathing affecting your yoga practice?

In T.K.V Desikachar’s The Heart of Yoga he says: “The breath is the intelligence of the body. It is only by bringing body, breath and mind into unison that we realise the true quality of asana.”

As you read above, learning how to breathe and use your breathe when practicing yoga is one of the most important things you can do as a beginner yogi. Correct yoga breathing is the difference between connecting your mind and body to your practice or aimlessly moving from one uncomfortable pose to another. Strong and steady breathing will relieve stress and focus your mind, shallow and unconscious breathing won’t quiet the chatterbox and you will have difficulty balancing and holding poses.

Master your yoga breath and you will feel the benefits and fall in love with your practice.

Below is a simple yoga exercise adapted from T.K.V Desikachar’s The Heart of Yoga. Do this exercise at the start of every yoga practice to tune into your body and focus your mind.

yoga breathing exercise1. Stand up tall staring straight ahead, feet together and hands at either side of your body.

2. Inhale for 4 counts and raise your arms up toward the ceiling at the same time (imagine you are creating a perfect half circle). Gently raise and tilt your head back towards the ceiling as you lift your arms.

3. Hold your arms up for 4 counts.

4. Exhale for 4 counts and at the same time, lower your hands back to your sides, lower your head and finish, looking straight ahead.

Repeat this for 30-60 seconds or until you feel calm and connected to your breath.