The Most Important Tool in Yoga

The Most Important Tool in Yoga

There are many tools used in yoga to achieve optimal results. The hands, the feet and the core are all important, but the most natural thing we all do in the world without even thinking is breathing. The involuntary movement of the chest (the breath) is the most important tool in yoga. Without the breath there is no yoga! It is the tool that stills the mind and relaxes the body. It is the tool that takes you through a yoga practice and keeps your mind focussed on the moving mediation.

What does the breath do?

Firstly, it is the function of the respiratory system that is required to sustain life. It activates the movement of blood in the circulatory system which generates internal heat – warming up your muscles and stimulating prana (energy) through the nadis energy channels (veins) awakening dormant channels. The breath also calms the mind and encourages internal balance. Once the mind focuses on the breath, all other external stimuli fade away and the mind chatter ceases. This, in essence, is the true definition of yoga – the quietness of the mind.

Breath control technique

The breath used in Yoga is called Ujjayi (pronounced ou-ji-ee) inhaling and exhaling through the nose not the mouth. This optimises the endocrine system enabling functionality on a higher plateau. Opening the mouth causes the break in the internal energy cycle that the body was starting to create, resulting in the intake of air through the mouth. This is problematic for the consistent flow of prana (energy).  It sends a message to your brain screaming for oxygen (thinking its not getting any) causing your body to overcompensate by forcing quicker breaths in the aim of calming the system. The breath quickening is a sign of panic which destabilises the system. Always in through the nose and out through the nose. It should sound like the ocean (like Darth Vader in Star Wars) and must have the same inhale and exhale consistency. If this changes and you notice strange squeaky sounds in the breath, you know you have gone too far. Stop, scale it back and start again. The breath produces sweat through heat generation which enables organs to naturally detox. No new-age pill, no weird green juice, just your own sweat. Everything you need is within, it just needs activating and nurturing. How does breath work in yoga? On an inhale you are in action. This is where you move into a posture and hold. On an exhale you extend and lengthen further into the posture.

You inhale for a count of 5 and you exhale for a count of 5. Nice. Slow. Breaths – is that so difficult? I didn’t think so!

As a qualified and certified yoga teacher, I teach with the understanding that everyone’s body is different and one size doesn’t fit all! I study the bodies I teach and add subtle adjustments improving alignment to complement their anatomical structure. I can help you achieve that body you have always desired within 3 months through the meditative movement and breath practice that is yoga.