Thank you Pranayama Breathing!

Today, I am excited to feature a guest post from my newest Yoga Buddy. She has a great Bikram blog that you should check out called Hot Off the Mat.  You can also follow her on Twitter@hotoffthemat. Please enjoy!

Thank you Pranayama Breathing!

Just breathe. That is what the teachers tell us to do between postures, and they are right. The simple act of breathing can calm the heart, slow the pulse and soothe the mind. That is all it takes to recover from a vigorous Bikram yoga posture. And that is all it takes to gain control of your life.  If only breathing were as simple as it sounds.

At the start of my practice, I struggled a lot with my breath in class. I found the opening Pranayama breathing exercise extremely challenging. Breathing in was relatively easy, but breathing out slowly over 6 counts with my head hanging back was unnerving.  And what was with this sound we were supposed to make? I felt panicky and would sometimes have to breathe in during the breathing out phase. Not so good.  But this changed over time, as I trusted the practice and tried the right way. Today I look forward to the Pranayama breathing exercise.  After 5 years of practice, my body knows what to do, and the rhythmic breathing in and out calms me, and sets me up for class. That’s not to say I don’t have a breath in on the breathing out phase once in a while.  It is a practice, I remind myself.

just breathe

I sometimes use this rhythmic breathing in other parts of the class. If I am coming off a particularly exciting posture for me that day, I calm my body and my mind by concentrating on breathing in for 6 counts and out for 6 counts until calm is restored. I call it my yoga breathing.  Some teachers recommend using it during the second and third parts of awkward pose.  I like to do that because it keeps me focused and the slow counting is a good distraction from the burn in my thighs.

I recently started to use my yoga breathing outside of Bikram class as well. Recently, I had to give a brief speech at a fundraising event for Hearing Health Foundation. I felt nervous because I was sharing something personal with the crowd, because the stakes felt high, and because I find public speaking SCARY! As I was having my microphone attached, I reminded myself to do my yoga breathing and forced myself to breathe in and out for 6 slow counts several times. The impact was incredible. My body knew what to do. My heart stopped racing and my nerves fell away. I felt calm and prepared and was able to deliver my talk without a hitch. I used this trick again a few weeks later at another event.  Thank you Pranayama!

Fellow yogis, does your yoga breathing help in your daily life?

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4 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. LeighAHall (@LeighAHall)
    Dec 01, 2014 @ 08:05:52

    Great post about pranayama breathing: http://t.co/FhzrPHWsZw #bikramyoga #yogaholicsmag

    Reply

  2. @HotOffTheMat
    Dec 01, 2014 @ 11:06:07

    Thank you @LeighAHall for letting me guest post on your amazing blog! http://t.co/KAbUvCxlhp #bikramyoga #bikram, #hotoffthemat

    Reply

  3. LeighAHall (@LeighAHall)
    Dec 01, 2014 @ 12:57:08

    RT @HotOffTheMat: Thank you @LeighAHall for letting me guest post on your amazing blog! http://t.co/KAbUvCxlhp #bikramyoga #bikram, #hotoff…

    Reply

  4. LeighAHall (@LeighAHall)
    Dec 22, 2014 @ 07:55:10

    Thank you Pranayama Breathing! http://t.co/DOQhk9Gic9 #bikramyoga #yogaholicsmag

    Reply

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