Yoga breathing can be like the glue that holds everything together. Hi, I’m Diane and today I can say I know firsth and the benefits of yoga breathing. But that hasn’t always been my story. Meet me several years ago when things were a little nutty and finding balance felt like a distant, distant pipedream.
Diane’s Breathing Journey
I was one of those busy professionals running around like a nut bag with my head cut off. I needed change. My well-being couldn’t continue this way so I went to a yoga class. Even during my first yoga class when we did Shivasana – the corpse pose where you lie flat on your back with your heels spread as wide as the yoga mat and your arms at the sides of your body with palms facing upward – I couldn’t stand it. I literally got up and left. I said to myself, “That’s it. I can’t deal with that. There are other things I could be doing.” And I left.
When I went back three years later my life was still crazy. This time it was an awesome transformation. I transformed from this crazy woman with all these thoughts and getting no sleep in the hurriedness of my life into someone who became calmer through the meditation. I was more peaceful – just by really honoring the slowing down process.
Over time, my mind slowed down because of yoga. It wasn’t that I set an intention, went to yoga class, and it happened. I noticed that over time, I had really slowed down to a place where I could just have a more peaceful existence in my life. And over time, that hurriedness thing, even though I’ve been in the same career for many years, just changed. How I approached my career changed. I love what yoga has done to me, and for me, and I want this for you, too. I have discovered this is a mindful practice that relieves stress in ways I couldn’t have imagined before. Earlier I wasn’t ready. Now, it’s part of my lifestyle. It anchors me. It brings me balance, peace, stress relief, and strength.
A New Beginning
Pain – physical, emotional, or mental – is often one of the triggers that leads someone to making changes. If you have had a health crisis you naturally seek a remedy or treatment. Much like a mid-life crisis, a health crisis is the moment when you realize something is really wrong and it’s time to start working on it.
Vitality Through Breath
Breathing is something we do without much thought. Our body knows what to do. Breathe in. Breathe out. One breath comes after the next – over and over. The reality is that breath is what makes yoga exercise different from other forms of exercise. Without focus on your breathing, it’s not really yoga. Don’t get me wrong. Stretching is beneficial. Remedial gymnastics are beneficial. Movement of all types is beneficial. But yoga, integrates the mind and body through breath. Knowing this fact makes learning to breathe properly a really powerful nervous system training tool. A yoga class shifts from becoming not just a physical work out around strength, flexibility, and balance to something that additionally includes nervous system training. Brain training, if you will.
During yoga breathing your instructor will guide everyone towards taking 4-6 breaths per minute which is a reduced, calm breathing rate. While doing the various poses and positions your body is super uncomfortable. You’re bending, extending, holding positions, and guiding your body into poses that are challenging. If you’re doing a hot yoga class or an aerial yoga class then the elements of elevated temperature or aerial maneuvers are added to all of the other elements of doing yoga for a more intense (possibly uncomfortable) challenging workout. Your natural tendency would be to drop your jaw, stick your tongue out, and breathe like a dog but instead you find that you are breathing as if you’re cool, calm, and collected. And, when you do this for 45, 60, 90, or even 120 minutes this is training your nervous systems to respond to stressful situations with peace, calm, and relaxation. This training is why people say, “Yoga is really helping me to deal with the stress in my life.” This training is teaching you to be less reactive – more sensitive – but less reactive to the stresses in your life. You’re practicing a form of mindfulness that carries over into both your personal and professional life to relieve stress and bring about balance. Yoga breathing teaches you to release the stress – to release the uncomfortableness – and breathe through it.
To learn more about showing up, finding balance, and breath join me on The Balanced Living for Busy Professionals podcast where my guest Lucas Rockwood, founder of Absolute Yoga Academy, discuss this topic. During the podcast Lucas guides listeners through a practical breathing exercise I believe you will enjoy. If you would like some support in getting started towards finding healthy balance be sure to reach out to me for a 1:1 consulting session.