Taking up yoga is an incredibly popular way to incorporate gentle exercise into your daily routine. It is super accessible and can help to improve your physical and mental health.
With that being said, it can be daunting going to your first yoga class or completing a beginner flow at home. One of the things that many beginners find difficult is breathing.
Breathing in yoga is as important as water is to a fish. Breathing correctly can help to relax your body and help your mind focus entirely on your movement.
However, it can be easy to get stuck in your head about how you are breathing during class. In this article, we will look at how long a breath should be in yoga and other helpful tips.
How To Breathe While Practicing Yoga
When you are new to yoga you are likely to be taking part in a class or following a flow through a video with experienced instructors. All instructors will put a lot of emphasis on breathing in their instructions. It can be confusing as a newbie to hear the instructor tell you to breathe in while you are breathing out.
Don’t worry, you’re not doing anything wrong if your breathing isn’t perfectly synchronized with the instructor. Instead of using it as an instruction to breathe, you can use it as a reminder to keep breathing through the movement.
If you are in a class or following a video with an instructor that doesn’t often mention breathing out loud, there is a general breathing rule that can help your practice. During movement in yoga, you should try to exhale as you bend forward and inhale as you open your chest or expand your body.
How Long Should Breaths Be In Yoga?
Now that you know generally when you should be inhaling and exhaling during your practice, it is also essential to know how long your breaths should be. This can help you to keep in time with your instructor and helps you get the most significant benefit from your practice and breathing.
The pattern that you use for your breathing during your yoga practice will depend on the type of yoga you are doing and your general fitness levels. However, there is a general breathing pattern that many yogis use, known as the 4-7-8 breathing technique.
For this technique, you should inhale for 4 seconds as you move into a pose. Then, hold that breath for 7 seconds. This is usually while you are holding a pose. As you move to the next pose, exhale for 8 seconds.
Many people claim that this breathing pattern helps them to manage their anxiety and can calm and focus their body and mind. This is commonly referred to as Pranayama in yoga practice.
You can practice this breathing technique outside of your yoga practice too. It can help you familiarize yourself with the breathing pattern and allow you to unwind and relax during the day. Below, we will look at some of the other benefits of this breathing practice in your daily life.
About Breath Awareness
Even if you have practiced Pranayama during your yoga practice and beyond, it is important to remain aware of your breathing while you are practicing.
Being aware of your breathing throughout your practice or flow will help you to get the most out of it and really feel the benefits of ensuring that your body is getting enough oxygen.
With that being said, it is common to lose awareness of your breathing during yoga. When you notice that you have forgotten about your breathing, you should make sure that you refocus on it.
There are ways that you can practice your breath awareness through seated meditation. Regularly meditating while focusing on your breathing and control will help you to develop the habit more quickly. It will also help you to focus on your breathing throughout your yoga practice effortlessly.
There are many other benefits of being aware of your breathing. If you are able to be aware of and control your breathing in such a way that it is second nature to you, you can control your breathing in situations outside of yoga and meditation.
If you are someone who struggles with anxiety during some aspects of your daily life, being able to keep your breathing under control can really help you to keep your anxiety under control.
How To Teach Yourself To Breathe
We briefly mentioned how seated meditation can help you to improve your breathing awareness. It can also help you to teach yourself to breathe.
The concept of teaching yourself to breathe might seem odd considering how innate the process of breathing is to our survival. However, breathing in yoga is its own special skill.
Seated meditation is the perfect way to teach yourself how to breathe steadily and deeply. To do this, you will need to be seated comfortably, preferably on the floor but any supportive surface will do. You can sit in any position that helps you to meditate for this practice.
While you are sitting there, focus on your breathing. Center it in your mind as you breathe normally. Once you have focused on the natural rhythm of your breathing, you can begin to breathe more deeply.
Take a slow, deep breath through your nose. Allow your chest and abdomen to expand fully as you fill your lungs with air. Hold your breath for a second or two. Then exhale slowly through your nose. Repeat this process throughout your meditation. It will help you to keep focusing on your breathing throughout your yoga practice.
There are no hard and fast rules about how long a breath should be in yoga.
However, your breathing will often be guided by an instructor or by the movements and poses you are holding during your flow. Learning how to focus on your breathing during your practice will help you get more out of yoga.
Frequently Asked Questions
One of the main benefits of yogic breathing relates to your stress levels. One of the easiest ways to reduce your stress levels and cortisol spikes is to do some deep breathing when you feel tense and wound up.
It can also have a physical effect by slowing your heart rate, controlling your breathing, and reducing blood pressure. This can benefit your overall health as well as make you feel more relaxed and happy.
If you struggle with insomnia and sleeplessness, you can really benefit from practicing yogic breathing. Reducing your overall cortisol levels and tension can help you to fall asleep easier and provide you with a better quality of sleep.
Practicing yogic breathing has also been known to help improve your core strength. This could be because of the way that your muscles are utilized to accommodate the deep breaths that you are taking.
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