Breathe less, gain more

Pranayama, or “breath control”, is an essential component to the Core 26+2 sequence. However, contrary to what many people have been taught or believe about breathing, the more practitioners focus on breathing, the MORE they tend to breathe, which results in hyperventilation instead of hypoventilation (breathing LESS, which is, ultimately, the goal in yoga).  

The most important breathing to understand and practice in yoga is natural relaxed breathing. Unless otherwise informed, breathing calm and relaxed in and out of the nose is recommended for all systems and methods of yoga.

There are exceptions. For example, there are 4x in the Core 26+2 sequence in which students control the breath by utilizing specific technique. These moments include two controlled breathing drills, at the beginning and end of the practice, in Full Locust pose, known as 80/20 breathing, and with each and every sit-up (exhale through the mouth, similar to final breathing at the end).  

Benefits of breath control exercise (pranayama):

Increased energy level

Increased blood flow

Creation of internal heat

Calm state of mind

Slowed heart rate

Benefits of breath control exercise (kapalabhati):

Increased core strength

Improved digestion

Release of the jaw

Grounded, neutral state of mind

Lauren’s “Breather” Pointers

If you feel overwhelmed or heart rate increasing rapidly, slow down and extend the exhale through the nose.

Seperate your bottom teeth from the top teeth, drop your tongue away from roof of mouth and relax your lips and jaw.

Aim for creation of ocean breath and sound, a low slow flow, feeling and hearing your breath move through the body just likes waves rising and falling.

Never hold the breath. The inhale cannot exist without the exhale; both are dependent upon the other. Allow for your inhale to connect smoothly, seamlessly, with exhale.

The Applied Anatomy and Physiology of the Core 26&2 Sequence.  Simon Borg-Olivier. MScBAppSC(Physiotherapy)APAM. ; www. 2016.

lauren Dean