“On waking every morning, I do some simple yoga in bed. I spend a few minutes on easy stretches and conscious breathing. Breathing in yoga is a revelation. It can be brief and uncomplicated yet have a profound effect.” Antonia Balazs
The Benefits of Breathing in Yoga
By Antonia Balazs
At the moment, the nights are still drawing in and I want to share with you the benefits of breathing in yoga throughout the seasonal changes. And how you can breathe into the dark.
Create a picture...It’s a Winter’s evening…it’s warm and cozy and you want to nest in for the winter under the calming blanket of your breath. Exhalations gather above you, puffy and low – you notice it’s a comforting feeling.
Now create another picture…It’s the summer, the day taps your shoulder early and you always keep an ear open for the mourning doves that nest in your courtyard. You wake fizzing with energy and your breath lifts me up, eager to start the day. Now you notice the breath is a tonic.
Breath changes your mood and motion
How often do you think about your breath? It just seems to happen! Yet breath doesn’t just give you life, sometimes we don’t notice how it shifts and changes with our mood and motion.
In winter breathing first thing in the morning is calming and centering while in summer your inhalations and exhalations are energizing. Yoga harnesses this power. And in this blog we want to share with you the benefits of breathing in yoga so you too can work with your breathe and use it as a tonic and find the comfortable feeling it offers you each season.
Connecting the mind and the body through breathing in yoga
There’s magic that happens when your breath syncs up with your yoga sequence. Without seeming effort, you find yourself more in tune with your body and what it’s telling you. There’s a pathway to understand better what you’re feeling:
- something unexpected
How does breathing in yoga give you information about your body
This understanding of your body’s nuances gives you a profound connection between your mind and your body. Often our society thinks of them as separate and there’s a tendency to focus on what we don’t like about our body. But I want to offer you new answers today so you can use your breath to benefit you and your yoga practise.
Breath to the rescue!
This habit doesn’t serve our wellbeing – so breath to the rescue! Our breathing during yoga helps us forge a marvelous link between our mind and body. Each breath helps blow away this false barrier, and we can begin to feel our body and mind working in tandem, true partners. They may even become friends!
Pranayama – Breathing itself in yoga – no poses!
Your breath doesn’t just give information, it can also help you shift your mood or energy. Recall that image of the darkness of winter mornings and the light streaming in on summer mornings and notice how it affected how your breath felt. Yoga has different types of breathing that has a similar effect.
This is called pranayama – it’s seated and is focused on breathing itself. Yummy Yoga Girl Natalie Farrell explores one type of pranayama in her blog post Three Daily Self Care Habits for Autumn. It’s one that energises, breath of fire.
Pranayama is very beneficial when you want tap into a certain type of energy – you can also try to follow your breath with deep belly breathing to experience calm.
Breathing in yoga – with movement
Connecting your breath to the poses allows you to listen to your body in the movement and stillness of the poses. Better yet, it seems to happen without effort. It feels like magic- but it’s also science. When this happens, the control of your breath moves from one part of your brain – the brain stem – to another – the cerebral cortex. And just like that you’re breathing from the more evolved part of the brain.
This is the difference you gain from conscious breathing. I find that connecting my breathing to movement effectively taps into my body – unconsciously!
Now let’s practise
Please enjoy a short breath and movement video here that is an accompanying gift to this blog. What I show is so simple – but it’s one of my favorite. I use it all the time – as a stand alone and as a warm up to a longer sequence. It’s beautifully grounding and it settles you into your body, opening you up – for the coming sequence, or for your daily life.
Antonia Balazs came to yoga originally for its physical benefits as she entered midlife. But funny things began to happen to her life and relationships. She found that yoga was giving her tools to navigate change and help her be her best self.
Antonia was finishing up her yoga teacher training when she turned fifty. Yoga gave Antonia the ability to see this milestone as an exciting new chapter. What an amazing transformation! Antonia wants nothing more than to help people tap into yoga tools so that they can navigate their lives, tuning into their best selves.
Read and watch more about Antonia’s yoga journey here