So far it seems to me that far and away the most important part of learning how to practise yoga properly is breathing. I’ve found this to be a real challenge, if I’m honest, but like everything patience is the key.
In learning the skill, I’ve been acutely aware that one of my main problems re fitness generally has been my inability to breathe properly to maintain a decent level of focus. Having recently seen my VO2 max reading improve quite a bit in a three month period, exercise is becoming easier. But I was completely clueless really about the importance of breathing. Yoga is helping me massively here, and is also having a big impact on my swimming practise too.
The ujjayi breath is something I practice a lot, and in my sessions with Judi at Merchant City Yoga we’ve been spending perhaps the first 15 minutes each week working on that and trying to extend and properly target my breathing. This has been immensely useful, as the more it becomes natural, the less I am consciously thinking about it when actually trying asanas.
This week I was able to feel exactly how much extending the breathing helps, being able to extend stretches much further as I learn to move with breaths. The ability to move just the odd extra centimetre here or there to extend a stretch gives you confidence and really makes you feel the muscles that have never been exercised before are getting attention. I just need to get that flow working properly and it’ll be onwards and upwards.
Or perhaps downwards and upwards. Dog, obviously.