Correct Form of Breathing
Yoga, Meditation and the Breath
I started noticing my breath consciously when learning yoga – at the physically demanding ashtanga courses I took in my early 20s, the seemingly simple yet demanding hatha yoga I soon loved since my mid 20s, the hot and sweaty bikram yoga that motivated me in my early 30s, the iyenga and vinyasa yoga teacher’s certification I received in my mid 30s and now, being in my last year of 30s, I simply practice yoga – doesn’t matter the style of yoga, I just get on my mat and focus on the breath.
The breath is one of the most important aspects of Yoga. The combination of postures and correct breathing enables us to enjoy the total benefits of the physical art of yoga. Whether your goal is to have a great workout, a relaxing session, an invigorating class or to find inner peace - breathing consciously is the essence of yoga as it assists us in connecting with our inner subtle energy.
My first brush with meditation was at the end of a hatha yoga session 18 years ago. Then, I found it a natural progression from the physical exercise to a mental and emotional one. Years later, I realized that meditation isn’t another exercise after my yoga practice but really, my yoga practice is just one form of meditation amongst many others. The use of breath in simple meditation was how I started and till today, I am still pleasantly surprised whenever I pay attention to my breath. My breath is the dependable friend who is always with me and often forgotten. Therefore I am filled with gratitude when I remember to notice how the breath moves in and out as the body inhales and exhales, automatically, effortlessly.
Correct Form of Breathing
Having been breathing, doing yoga and meditating all these years, it came as a surprise last month when I wasn’t sure what is the correct form of breathing. Have I been doing it right? Who determines what is right? How will I know when it’s right?
After much reading, reviewing and testing, the verdict is out for me:
The best way to breathe is through the nose (and not the mouth).
The correct form of breathing is to push the abdomen out while inhaling,
and let it come back in naturally while exhaling.
I could continue now by citing evidence, research and articles but that is what a search engine is for. I’d rather end by encouraging you to try it for yourself and just breathe.
The breath is life-giving. When we breathe in, we partake in the world’s shared energy. When we breathe out, we connect with all beings.