Well, this week I’d like to tell you about my second yoga lesson — which, coincidentally, was my mantra last year and continues to be something I remind myself of time and time again:
For many folks — especially those who’ve never practiced yoga — yoga is about a ton of awkward, nearly (or entirely) impossible poses that — if you ever manage to halfway master — give you a nice little yoga butt.
Yoga is not about getting a nice ass.
Sure, to practice yoga you must practice yoga poses (and yes, there are some physical benefits to practicing those poses), but breathing plays an even bigger role in yoga — bigger than any downward dog could ever play.
Breathing plays such a huge role in yoga, it has its own name: pranayama.
Although breathing is one of our involuntary bodily functions (it happens whether you think about it or not, if you are alive) we can also control the breath to some extent. Exercises in breath control, such as breath retention and deliberate methods inhalation and exhalation for specific mental and physical benefits are called pranayama.
The problem is, sometimes we’re so focused on achieving a pose — especially particularly difficult poses — we forget to breathe or we intentionally hold our breath.
We sacrifice the breath and all its benefits just to achieve positions we think we’re supposed to achieve — and exactly as we think we’re supposed to achieve them.
So, how can you stop sacrificing the breath for the pose?
Obviously, this will vary from person to person, but there are two main ideas:
The overall theme is: Don’t spend so much time working to achieve a goal (or pose) that you forget to breathe (enjoy your life).
The breath is more important than achieving the pose.
For more information about pranayama breathing exercises, take a look at these yoga resources:
Now, how can YOU stop sacrificing the breath for the pose?
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Last reviewed: 17 Feb 2014