When it comes to ‘yoga breathing’, babies just do it innately. Sadly, we can lose this healthy way of breathing as we age. Stress and the hustle bustle of busy days can lead to a quick and short breathing pattern that is restricted to the chest, instead of a deep and full diaphragmatic breath. When we breathe the ‘wrong’ way, we can strain the secondary breathing muscles that are not meant to run the show. This can result in neck pain, back pain and poor posture, not to mention a decrease in oxygen intake and less circulation of prana (the vital life force).
So when you get a chance, watch or imagine a sleeping baby breathing. Slow down your mind and focus on bringing your breath first into your belly, then your ribs, and then into your chest, until the breath fills your heart space. When you breathe out, reverse the flow by exhaling from the chest first, then the ribs, then the belly. Continue to breathe like this for a few minutes, and try it a few times each day. You will notice its effects immediately!
Yoga breathing is proven to positively affect immune function and decrease hypertension, asthma and imbalances of the autonomic nervous system. It also reduces psychological and stress-related disorders.
As I witness my ‘born yogi’, it is quite profound to think that one day he will look to me to see how I breathe, and mirror my actions. For now I will enjoy the peace and calm that watching him brings me.
Krista Bromfield is a RYT, Can-Fit-Pro PRO Trainer, Mom and Auntie. She has an Honors Degree in Kinesiology and Education and is the lead Anatomy Instructor for the Balanced Life Yoga Teacher Training Programs. Krista teaches a variety of yoga classes including Power Yoga, Flow Yoga, Partner Yoga, Kids Yoga and Mom and Baby Yoga Bootcamp at Balanced Life Yoga.