Step by Step
In today’s modern age, we’ve learned that exercising is a staple that our body cannot do without. Physical activity, the need to sweat, stretch, fight, and challenge brings out a kind of reaction within us that either translates to aggression, catharsis or pain. In a sense, training and exercising can bring a scary side out in you that is so primal and animalistic in nature that sometimes… it’s just uncomfortable to experience; one that requires the beast to come out. The modern day age requires a beast, and maybe some of us just don’t want to let it out.
That’s where yoga fights in. The ancient practice of stretching out the muscles while controlling the most important aspect of living – breathing. The breath that courses through your lungs is the very reason that we’re alive – when the breath disrupts, so does life.
You might think that breathing comes to you naturally; what might surprise you, is that you might be wrong. Control your breathing, and you’ve controlled the beast without having to see a glimpse of it.
Here’s one way of mastering your breath:
Alternate short bursts of explosive exhales followed by slightly longer yet passive inhales. The process involves straining or contracting the lower belly (between the pubis and navel) to expel the air through the lungs and out the mouth. The idea is to isolate the lower belly.
Beginners may find it slightly harder to master the belly contraction. To attain this you must focus on the lower belly while cupping both your hands lightly together while gently pressing against your lower belly. This will give you an image of where your oxygen is accumulating (in the belly) which will help you focus on the lower belly.
Contract the lower belly to push (or burst) the air from out of your lungs, while you allow the stomach to rebound with a contraction, which will suck air right back into the lungs. This exercise should help with activating your belly.
Repeat these cycles daily about starting from 10 breaths to 25 or 30, and practice to attain 100 cycles or more. This will breathing exercise helps in ANY situation ranging from stress relief, to mental relaxation, physical relaxation, and relief from nausea, and most importantly, training, to get the oxygen pumping into the muscles.
Do 25 to 30 cycles at first. Gradually increase the number of cycles you do each practice to 100 or more.