Friday, April 08, 2016

Yoga for Linking Breath and Movement

breath and movement
By: Virginia Iversen, M.Ed

As the coldness of winter begins to recede, you may be noticing that the pulsation of new life all around you is propelling you to dissolve and release stagnant energy. This stagnant energy is often located in the hips, shoulders and throughout the thoracic spinal area. You even find that there is quite a bit of stagnant energy in your home, after several months of spending your time indoors with the windows closed. In the same way that doing a deep spring cleaning of your home lightens up and energizes your living space, dissolving stagnant energy in your body will help to lift your spirits and revitalize your life force energy or prana. 

One of the primary ways of releasing stagnant physical and emotional energy is by linking your breath with your movement in and out of the postures. Many highly-regard Yoga teachers have been known to remind their students that the absolute most important aspect of the practice is to continue to breathe as you move through the asanas. Without the breath, the beneficial aspects of the practice are substantially diminished. There are many different pranayama or breathing techniques that can be incorporated into a Yoga practice. One of the most effective and accessible pranayama exercises for releasing stagnant energy and energizing the entire body is Ocean Sounding Breath or Ujjayi Pranayama. 

This easily learned Yogic breathing technique removes blockages throughout the energetic pathways in the body, known in Sanskrit as "nadis." When pranic energy can flow freely throughout the energy pathways of the body, you will feel lighter and much more ready to spring into action, whether this is on the Yoga mat or off the mat. Ocean Sounding Breath is practiced by partially closing the glottis at the back of the throat, as you breathe in and out evenly and calmly. If you are practicing Ocean Sounding Breath or Ujjayi Pranayama correctly, you will be making the sound of the ocean in a conch shell, or for all those Star Wars fans out there, the sound of Darth Vader! 

By linking your breath with your movement as you practice a sequence of asanas, your cortisol level will naturally begin to fall, which will help you to relax and move out of an a state of flight or flight, into spaciousness and peace. Additionally, Ujjayi Pranayama helps to balance the sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous systems, which will leave you feeling calm and energized after a Yoga practice. Flowing through a series of asanas while practicing Ujjayi Pranayama will also effectively dissolve stagnant energy throughout your body and mind so that you are ready to spring into action during this fresh new season. The linking of breath with movement is optimally learned under the guidance of a certified Yoga teacher. 

Although it may not be readily apparent, allowing you the time to practice calming Yogic breathing exercises is also important for replenishing your life force energy. A few of the more accessible calming pranayama exercises are Relaxation Breath and Dirga Pranayama. Both of these pranayama exercises will help to quiet the mind and ameliorate anxiety by invoking the relaxation response in the body. For detailed instructions on how to practice any of these Yogic breathing techniques, please visit Aura Wellness Center's You Tube Channel.

If you close your Yoga practice with ten minutes of resting in Shavasana while practicing the Relaxation Breath, you will find it easier to rest when it is time to rest, so that you are ready to spring into action with the dawning of each new day. 

Virginia Iversen, M.Ed, has been practicing and studying the art of Yoga for over twenty years. She lives in Woodstock, New York, where she works as a writer and an academic support specialist. She is currently accepting Yoga and health-related writing orders and may be contacted at:

© Copyright – Virginia Iversen / Aura Wellness Center – Publications Division
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1 comment:

parvezbdjsr said...

One of the primary ways of releasing stagnant physical and emotional energy is by linking your breath with your movement in and out of the postures.