THIS IS IMPORTANT!!! This kind of breathing is called yoga-breath or belly-breath or diaphragmatic breathing. It’s the kind of breathing athletes use, also professional singers, and is taught to mothers about to give birth. This way of breathing makes your mind and body strong. Breath connects the mind and body, the spiritual and material. You “marry” the mind to the breath, or “harness” them together. Learn how if you don’t already breathe in this manner. Without proper breathing a yoga practice (or one’s life) is … dull, boring, mostly ineffective compared to what it could be. Belly-breathing is counter-intuitive to how most people breathe. It just takes a little practice, and once you get it—you’ve harnessed your Inner Power!
Do NOT move your shoulders up and down as you breathe. All the muscular action comes from your diaphragm. Put your hand on your navel to feel the in-out motion. Connect with this belly-action: it is key to proper breathing.
When you breathe out: PUSH diaphragm in and up, forcing air to evacuate your lungs.
out-breath, belly IN
If you can gradually add the visualization of LIGHT and STRENGTH coming in, and going out, along with this muscular action in your CORE (because this is what you’re engaging when you breathe this way, my friend) … then you are preparing for an outta-sight yoga practice. Or … a more aware life, in general.
If you haven’t yet learned to connect to your breath, at all times, in all circumstances, not just when “doing yoga” … then you ought to. Right NOW.
Breath is the key. It’s the “bridge” between the two sides of life: the material and the spiritual. Think about it: if you’re not breathing you’re … that’s right, you’re dead! It’s that basic. Kind of silly, but when you understand how important consciously breathing is—how without being aware of it we’re stuck in … lower perceptions—then you’ll grasp how very important it is to connect at all times, especially stressful ones, with your in-breath, with your out-breath.
Of course the perfect way to practice this new consciousness we call awareness … is when we “do yoga.” Meaning … perform the asanas by harnessing the breath, engaging the breath FIRST.
Okay, think of a sun salute. Let’s call this series of asanas as a “basic training” mechanism by which you get to 1) focus on your breath, 2) move your body, 3) stretch and/or strengthen muscles, tendons, ligaments, joints. It’s THIS SIMPLE. Without first “harnessing the breath” (think of saddling up your horse … you MUST be comfortable in your breath, your saddle, being aware of it, “seeing” it fill you, “seeing” it leave you, “resting” in your ability to consciously be breathing, not unconsciously) without this, all you’re doing when you do a sun salute is a calisthenic, gym-rat repetition. Seriously. Without FIRST joining your awareness to the breath, every move you make is … shallow.