Last week we focused on Breath Awareness in our Performance Yoga class. I asked my yogis to observe their breath with certain questions in mind. Last night’s class moved into Breath Placement. Now that we’re aware, where does the body need the oxygen that was gathered? Benefits have been shown in warming up, performance and recovery from the increased VO2 max from pranayama techniques. Our focus and meditation can be seen read below.
Let’s notice the physical motion of the breath in the body. What is the pattern of the motion of the body as it fills and empties? Where does the breath go from there? And where does each inhalation end?
As you being your inhalation, your diaphragm lowers into the belly, creating negative air pressure and drawing in the inhalation. As the diaphragm moves down your belly expands beneath the lower hand. Notice how this feels.
During the middle of the inhalation, the air fills the lungs and the ribs expand through four motions, making room for the breath. They move out away from the spine, they move upward, they spread away from each other, and they rotate slightly on their axes, swiveling like miniblinds. You may notice some of these motions and not others; the action is subtle. You’ll be expanding into the space between your upper and lower hand.
As you finish the inhalation, your collarbone will lift as the upper chest fills and the upperback expands. If you’re wearing a heartrate monitor, you’ll feel it tighten during this third stage of the inhalation. Continue breathing in until you feel very full, expanded from the inside out.
As you begin to exhale, reverse the pattern. First sink down in the upper chest, then release the ribs to their starting position, finally relaxing the belly back in toward the spine.
When you can feel the energy of an action, you can work with it instead of against it.
BOOK – “The Athlete’s Guide to Yoga” by Sage Rountree.