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Yoga – Breathing Right

‘I am a big fan of Yoga’, I hear myself say often but it was only recently that I realised that there is so much more to Yoga than what I had learnt and practised in the last few years. My typical Yoga practice starts with breathing exercises and is then followed by a few rounds of ‘SuryaNamaskar’ (wasn’t it this lovely ‘Suryanamaskar’ that made Kareena Kapoor so thin? Hence, it was mandatory to give it a go!) and I then end my session with the plank (well, it should really be the ‘Shavasana’ but I am always running short of time and patience in the morning!). Well, Yoga is just not ‘breathing’ and certainly isn’t just doing the ‘SuryaNamaskar’; there is a lot more happening in this world of ‘Yoga’. Let me throw a few names associated with the different styles of Yoga, that are being taught across the world:

  • Oxygen Yoga
  • Laughter Yoga
  • Hath Yoga
  • Vinyasa Yoga
  • Bikram Yoga
  • Kundalini Yoga
  • Ashtanga Yoga
  • Iyenger Yoga

Familiar with any of those? Before I go any further, I must mention, that this is my first post in this Yoga series. We will gradually explore each style and learn about the benefits of each one of those styles mentioned.  Yoga, of course has been around for thousands of years, and I have grown up seeing my father practice Yoga every single day. Of course, it wasn’t ‘cool’ enough for me then when I was younger, but as I grew older, I wanted it to be a part of my daily routine. It’s sort of addictive!

Since you are still here reading this post, I can presume that Yoga is either already a part of your routine or alternatively, you would like it to be.  As I mentioned earlier, my Yoga practise includes breathing (pranayams) as well as asanas; I believe that while asanas are important, breathing right is absolutely mandatory and non-negotiable! Oxygen heals; the right breathing method, is extremely important for our mental and physical health but most of us don’t do it right!

In this post, we are going to talk about simply learning to ‘breathe right’! The right breathing exercises provide oxygen to the cells to rejuvenate them and removes the toxins from the body. There are instructors out there, who could help you breathe the correct way. We have listed two we know of, right here.

Ashish Nanda, of Moksha Mantra states that the diaphragm is responsible for 75 – 80% of respiration process in the normal tidal breathing. He refers to this as the Oxygen Yoga.

Let's all start breathing right....use the diaphragm please via

Let’s all start breathing right….use the diaphragm please via

Some well-known yoga instructors in India are:

Apart from the above, there ought to be one quite close to you. So, look closer to home and you will find one for sure. So, how do we breathe right? By learning ‘how to’ from a trained instructor, is my suggestion. Either contact the ones we have mentioned or contact any good, well-qualified Yoga instructor, but please don’t try practising without proper guidance.

Some advice again; I repeat, get yourself an instructor, so that you can get it absolutely correct! Once you have done that, get into the habit of practising to breathe correctly every day, consciously until it is second nature to you.  Some of the documented methods for correct breathing are:

Method 1: Focus on increasing your exhalation time and this can be achieved by taking a deep breath in, and then exhaling with a long ‘Om’ chant.

Method 2: Ujjayi pranayam or breathing is known as ‘victorious breathing’.  Have a look at this video by Ramdev to learn about this breathing technique.

Method 3: Anulom Vilom, is a way to enhance supply of oxygen to the brain and helps to calm and relax one too. I had mentioned this in an earlier post, so, reminding you again of the benefits and method to practise this pranayam.

So, without further ado, find yourself an instructor and master the art of breathing! What do the wise folk say about doing things well or not doing it at all? Well, I am not going to go that far…Keep breathing, lovely people but do it brilliantly well!

Happy, deep breaths, everyone!

Shilpa xx

Cover Image: via