I have been leading a lunch time yoga practice as of late, and many of the folks in the class are coming from work. I have been amazed at the hurriedness of people as they run in, short of breath and quickly jump onto the mat all wiggles and agitation, but in just a few minutes of sitting quietly with nothing to do but breathe, the energy in the room changes dramatically. The frantic stress of jobs and traffic is gone and there is just calm and joy.
A third thing that got me thinking about breathing was a question asked about breathing after class today. One practicer has been having difficulty breathing during class. Feeling as if the lungs do not want to fully inflate on an inhale. I started thinking about what we could do to help strengthen the lungs and also get us used to that thing that so many of us just refer to as "yoga breath." That is, the long deep inhale followed by the slow full exhale. The practice of pranayama. Believe me, there are as many ways to practice breathing as there are yogis, but this is just a little something that I came up with.
During the next few days, focusing a few minutes throughout the day to breathe.
During any yoga practice asanas or just breathing practice, the tongue actually plays a huge role. Flattening the tongue so that it sits relaxed at the roof of the mouth is key. The tip of the tongue touching the back of the front teeth and the tongue taking up the entire roof of the mouth. This actually causes that tiny closure of the back of the throat that makes breath sounds audible sometimes. It also reminds us to keep the mouth closed and the jaw relaxed.
Quote of the Day: "Winning is the most important thing in my life, after breathing. Breathing first, winning next."--George Steinbrenner