Saturday, 11 February 2012

Breathing & Body Awareness Exercises |

Breathing & Body Awareness Exercises Photo Credit yoga pose image by chinatiger from

Breathing and body awareness are part of practicing yoga. Breathing exercises, called pranayama in Sanskrit, is the regulation of breath so one can tap the energy that is within each breath. Yoga incorporates breathing exercises that massage the organs and rejuvenate the body with new blood, fluids and oxygen. Proprioception is your capacity to sense where your body is in space, and yoga poses train the mind to be keenly aware of the body's movements.

Ocean Breath

Sit in a comfortable seated position to practice the yoga breathing exercises. Take note of any altered state of mind after practicing each method. Ujjayi breathing is an exercise that engages the abdominal muscles. Breathe in through your nose and exhale with your mouth open, like you are fogging up a window. Then breathe in through your nose and out through your nose, narrow the throat passage or glottis so the airway is tighter, and create a rushing sound that mimics the sound of the ocean. The body benefits because it increases your intake of oxygen, slows the breath, helps build energy and maintains an increased pressure in the abdomen area to support the spine.

Alternate Nostril Breathing

Nadi Shodhana, also known as alternate nostril breathing, is a breathing exercise that reduces mental tension linked to anxiety and insomnia. Alternate nostril breathing balances the body and mind and calms the nervous system by switching the inhalation and exhalation through the nostrils one at a time. It lowers your heart rate and, according to the Yoga Journal website, synchronizes the right and left halves of the brain. Raise your right hand to the nose with the little finger and thumb extended and bend the other three fingers on the palm. Close your right nostril with the thumb and inhale through the left nostril. Retain the breath and close the left nostril with your little finger. Open the right nostril and exhale. Inhale through the right nostril. Retain the breath and close the right nostril with your thumb. Open the left nostril and exhale. Repeat the cycle five times.

Stand Like a Mountain

The basic element of all yoga poses starts from mountain pose (Tadasana in Sanskrit). Tada means a mountain and is a basic standing pose that is the foundation of yoga practice. Mountain pose is similar to the "anatomical position," except the palms face the thighs. The feet are together and firmly planted on the ground. The legs are straight with the hips directly over the standing base. The spine is stretched long and the crown of the head reaches up for an erect stance. The correct technique of standing without putting weight to one side, too far forward or too far back is the building block that leads to proper weight distribution, balance and body awareness.


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