"Anyone can breathe, therefore anybody can practice yoga."
T. K. V. Desikachar
As I have been saying a lot over the last few weeks; yoga is a journey, not a destination. At Ke-Yoga I am happy to welcome everyone to the mat, whether they are just starting their yoga journey or whether they are an experienced yogi with an advanced practice.
For me yoga is not all about being super bendy and touching your toes, or creating an insta-worthy handstand pose. I believe that yoga is fundamentally about the breath and using the power of the breath to help you find the stillness within that will anchor you to the here and now.
Advanced yoga poses may be fun and challenging (and let's face it, it is great to have a go) but they will always be unachievable (and ultimately meaningless) without a connection between the posture and the breath. Our bodies all know how to breathe automatically, but only few of us know that this tool can be the key to a transformative and amazing yoga practice. It’s time to really pay attention to the breath, still your mind and reap the benefits!
This does not have to be a fancy or long practice; you can bring the attention to the breath wherever you are and whatever you are doing, and it can be a powerful and transformative thing to do both on and off the mat. Why not try these two breathing practices out:
Basic breath awareness
Bring your attention to your breath – is it shallow or deep, what makes it faster or slower? Just becoming aware of your breath tends to slow it down. Breathe in through your nose, observe the inhalation and exhalation. Which happens faster? Which is longer? Don’t change anything, just become aware of your breath. Continue for 2–3 minutes.
Sama-vritti is a breathing technique where the inhalation and the exhalation are the same length. You can achieve this by counting to a certain number whilst inhaling and exhaling to ensure evenness is maintained.
The word Vritti refers to the fluctuations of the mind, and sama-vritti is generally thought of as a soothing, calming and centering practice:
* Come to sit in a comfortable position. If sitting on the floor isn't possible, lie on your back or sit in a chair.
* Close your eyes and begin to notice your natural breath, not changing anything at first. Give yourself a good five breaths or so.
* Begin to slowly count to four as you inhale. Take a moment at the top of your inhalation with the lungs full of air. Then also count to four as you exhale. Again take a moment to feel empty. Then inhale again to another count of four. Continue this pattern.
* You can experiment with changing the number you count too; just make sure your inhalation and exhalation are the same lengths.
* Continue breathing this way for several minutes
I hope you find these practices useful - let me know how you get on by commenting below.
Love and light,