Yoga Routine


Basic Breathing Techniques

Yeah, yeah, yeah. You know how to breath, right? If not, you could make quite a bit of money as a deep sea treasure hunter. In either case, I’m sure many of you are thinking “I’ll be fine if I skip this page…” I urge you to continue to read.

Breathing techniques play a large role in yoga. When someone is agitated or stressed out, what would you tell them? “Calm down. Just breathe. Breathe.” Well, a simple definition of any form of exercise is a heightened state of agitation and stress for the body. Now there’s no possible way to breathe deep and slow while running (or any other form of aerobic exercise. Aerobic means: requiring the presence of oxygen). But yoga is generally an anaerobic exercise (pertaining to the absence of excess oxygen). Now, that’s not to say you can’t come to a crossroads between the two. Once I learned the yoga positions, I came to enjoy creating my own yoga routines that combined elements of aerobic and anaerobic exercise. But let’s get back to the basics.

While doing yoga, you are expected to breathe long, slow, deep breaths through your nose for the entire time. At first, this isn’t possible for most of us, but with practice and patience, it becomes second nature and even improves your breathing in daily life. There are many benefits of proper breathing throughout the day, including:

  • More energy - when you breathe properly, you gain access to parts of your lungs that were hardly in use before. You then are able to draw in more oxygen, which allows your metabolism to function the way it should. This leads to the next item on the list.
  • More calories burned - This ties into the first item. When you burn calories, you have energy. When your metabolism is working right, you burn the amount of calories you should be burning during your daily routines instead of a much lower amount. You well then be left with a greater energy supply to keep you moving.
  • Higher Immunity – Some may be grossed out by this one, but it’s simply a part of natural life and I think it’s one of the most significant. There are many theories supporting this. When you breathe in, you are obviously getting plenty of harmless germs in your body. They are almost immediately beaten down by your body’s defenses and then their picture is added to the big wall of “bad guy germs” that your body uses to keep from getting sick. This can also be reflected in a reduction of sinus and nasal problems. When you use yoga breathing techniques, you are breathing deep through your nose, activating otherwise lazy parts of your sinuses and nasal cavities. The cilia (tiny, hairlike structures) in your sinuses moves around in order to shift mucous and allergens around until they can be removed. Sometimes, when these cilia become unused, they get weighed down and then there is a chance you will have to go through many uncomfortable procedures and/or sinus flushings in order to cure you of this affliction. Regular breathing can reduce your risk.

    So, now that you’ve heard how important it is to breath right, let’s learn how. Here are the things you need to remember:

    • You want to breathe with your diaphragm. Diaphragmatic breathing is characterized by a deep inhalation with very little or no torso expansion at all.
    • Do NOT make a habit of breathing through your mouth. When you breathe through your mouth, it’s a quick breath in and a quick breath out. More oxygen is wasted when breathing this way.
    • If you breathe through your mouth too often, try closing your mouth in order to help fight the habit. Just make sure to open your mouth if you really need it. It’s not fun passing out!
    • Breathe steadily. If you breathe through your nose but still don’t take slow, deep and steady breaths, then you aren’t reaping the benefits of your new breathing skills. If you breathe through your mouth, try not to mimic the breathing patterns you normally use, as they will normally be short  and quick breaths.
    • If you are unable to do any of this at first, you may want to concentrate on it for five to ten minutes in order to get it down. You can do it in your own free time, or even when you go to bed. Just close your eyes and focus solely on the air flowing in and out.
    • Just practice! It becomes much easier with time and patience.

      Good luck!