Fitness / Health / Meditation

Yoga with Adriene Breathing: Transform Your Life

Yoga with Adriene Breathing: Transform Your Life

Yoga with Adriene Breathing: Breath of Yogis. When someone mentions Yoga, people’s minds tend to drift to pictures of deep stretches in exotic locations and people meditating in Shavasana (laying down posture) or in the seated lotus position.

However, both these ancient practices are incomplete without one critical component; mastery of the breath.

The breath has been the focus of many spiritual practices, particularly in Eastern cultures. For example, it has been used to improve cardiovascular health and regulate the body’s functions; it is believed the breath is essential in controlling the body’s metaphysical Prana, or spiritual energy.

Although modern science is yet to be able to measure this ancient energy source to prove or disprove its existence, they are starting to find many benefits of controlled breathing practices like Pranayama in classical yoga modalities.

Yoga with Adriene Breathing. So what is it all about? And why has the yoga breathing exercises been considered so vital to so many cultures? Read on to learn more about the different types of yoga breathing.

Yoga with Adriene Breathing: Transform Your Life
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How To Breathe In Yoga, Are You Breathing Wrong!

Breathing is something we take for granted. It takes care of itself, doesn’t it? The wonders of the subconscious mind and internal rhythms ensure that the breath of life continues without a thought.

But the truth is that as we age, we start to really suck at breathing, and statistically, that probably includes you!

Healthy human babies breathe into their lower lungs, expanding the stomach and diaphragm naturally and rhythmically. However, as we age, many develop lazy breathing habits, taking shallow, uneven breaths or only breathing into the upper lungs.

There are many reasons why this is the case, and the modern sedentary lifestyle is not helping matters, and either is poor posture.

Belly breathing, also known as abdominal and diaphragmatic breathing, encourages full oxygen exchange, optimizing your body’s absorption of vital oxygen while expelling carbon dioxide. 

So, if learning how to breathe like you did as a baby is so good for you, can mastering various forms of intentional, controlled breathing exercises help make your body and mind work and perform even better again?

If you ask enthusiastic researchers, physicians, and several thousand years of Yoga teachers and practitioners, the answer is a unanimous yes!

Yoga with Adriene Breathing: The Breath Of Yogis

Yoga breathing exercises is a complex practice all itself, with many branches and progressions within any given Yoga practice. This is especially true in classical Yoga practices, like Hatha or Vinyasa Yoga.

Yoga with Adriene Breathing: Transform Your Life
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Pranayama Breathwork Techniques

Cultivating awareness and control of breath is often deemed essential to a healing, spiritual, transformative practice. These breathing practices have been developed and honed over thousands of years as far as Yoga is concerned.

Pranayama is a Sanskrit word. So, broken down, we have “Prana“, which roughly translates as “vital life force“, and the word “Yama”, which means to “gain control”.

Although too lofty to discuss here, a brief explanation of Pranayama’s more metaphysical concepts in classical yoga practices, like Hatha Yoga, is worth mentioning.

It is believed that by learning how to control this life-force energy, or Prana, with the breath, meditation, intent and harmonious movements like Yoga asanas, that we can align our energetic, spiritual and physical bodies, optimizing health and creating balance within one’s whole.

These ideas may be lofty for some but more familiar to others who have been practicing Yoga or another spiritual practice, like Reiki or energy work for some time.

However, modern science has started to recognize that mindful, controlled breathing techniques, like the ones practiced in Yoga classes, may have some significant, measurable healthcare applications, and various breath control practices are getting a renaissance.

There have even been some science endorsed breathwork celebrities arise during this breathwork explosion.

Wim Hof, for example, known as “The Iceman”, combines breathwork, visualization, and cold therapy, to control his physical conditions and defy current science norms by surviving and thriving in below-freezing temperatures.

He also helps others heal from health conditions with these methods, and there have been many reports of practitioners overcoming a wide variety of physical ailments, some diagnoses as terminal. His work continues to be studied enthusiastically by interested medical scientists.

Basic Yoga breathing

How to learn Yoga with Adriene Breathing. Well In classical yoga breathing exercises classes, like Hatha Yoga, Pranayama is a broad area of study all by itself.

Some of the many variations and progressions of pranayama include:

Even people who master advanced forms still use the basics of Pranayama throughout their Yoga practices. After all, foundations are vital in any art form or discipline.

Yoga with Adriene: Life is But a Breath

Yoga with Adriene Breathing . Basic abdominal breathing is a great place to start your pranayama journey and can be practiced anywhere. It can also be used while meditation or moving, like when walking or performing core asanas.

This basic breathing form is also a common technique across many cultures. Elite military forces even use similar methods to help soldiers control their stress levels in intense combat situations.

Breathing essentials: how to get energized

  1. Find a place you will remain undisturbed, or go out in nature
  2. Sit with your eyes closed and your spine straight (lay down if you have a bad back)
  3. Close your eyes, relax, and center yourself
  4. Take a comfortable but controlled breath in to the count of three
  5. Hold the breath for another count of three; however, do not strain like you are holding your breath underwater
  6. Carefully and with control, let your breath out to the count of three again
  7. Finally, hold your breath out for another count of three, without straining, remain relaxed

Repeat this cycle for the duration of your breathing session. While performing this breathing technique, keep mindful, focus on your breath, imagining it is like healthy, white vapor moving in and out of your body.

If you lose rhythm or focus, don’t worry. Just reset, and start again. Eventually, you can build up from seconds to minutes to longer sessions of 20-minutes or more.

Have you tried belly breathing? Does your yoga teacher incorporate Pranayama techniques in your Yoga classes?

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Avatar of Melissa Hall About Author

Hey there and Welcome! I'm Melissa and I'm the author of My Free Yoga. We started back in 2009 as a resource for people needing advice on yoga and yoga products. Today we are working hard to cover everything product related to yoga.