Anyone can mimic the basic movements of a Sun Salutations, one of the keystone sequences in yoga. Standing, sweep your arms overhead, then swan dive into a forward bend, come halfway up with a flat back, fold forward again and rise back up to standing. But while it may look simple, the real trick comes from linking movement to breath. You will be able to maximize the benefits of the pose by breathing correctly. Learning to breathe with clarity and regularity in yoga will transform it into a moving meditation.
This potential to create a moving meditation is at the heart of yoga’s calm-inducing benefits. And it all comes back to the breath. Through conscious breathing, you activate the parasympathetic nervous system and trigger a corresponding drop in heart rate and suppression of stress hormones, like adrenaline and cortisol, in the bloodstream. Breathing has an influence on stress and studies have found that all the systems of the body go into high alert during times of stress are given permission to return to normal functioning.
For something that’s suppose to happen automatically, proper breathing can be surprisingly challenging. There are two reasons for this. In the heightened fight or flight response that occurs under stress, the body primes for action. Muscles tense, heart rate increases, and breathing is short and shallow. Breathing is also linked to emotion,. When we feel anxious, stressed or overwhelmed, our natural response is to brace ourselves by shortening and holding our breath. Breathing, however is the best thing you can do to regain your equilibrium. Simply breathing will change your experience completely.
Practicing conscious breathing techniques in various positions effectively strengthens, muscles, massages organs, and engages the body’s many sphincters. Although it is possible to muscle your way into even advanced yoga poses, doing so without linking the movement s to the breath defeats the purpose of the practice Learning basic techniques will evolve your practice in powerful ways.