There are ways to cultivate inner peace on and off the yoga mat.
There’s no yoga without breath. Try as you might, nail all yoga asanas, mudras, and mantras, but without pranayama (prana means “life force” and yama means “control”) you can't deepen your yoga practice.
Breath is the foundation of any yoga practice. Movement and breath are what make yoga such a unique and powerful experience. Breathing helps to clear our minds, connects us with the present moment, and relaxes the nervous system. That said, here are five breathing techniques you can practice on and off the mat.
This pranayama is a powerful way to instantly get you out of your mind and connect you with the present moment and your breath. Don’t worry about how you look or what people will think of you; just relax and have fun with this breathing technique.
Also called the Victorious breath, Ujjayi is basically used during yoga practices like Hatha, Vinyasas Flow, and Ashtanga. It’s used as a tool to focus the mind and assist in the synchronicity of movement and breath. Feel free to add this pranayama to other activities that connect movement with breath.
If you’re feeling anxious, angry, or emotionally charged, Sitali breath is an excellent tool to relax and calm down your mind and nerves. To practice this pranayama, you stick the tongue out. Don’t worry if you can’t do it. Instead, clench your teeth together.
In Sanskrit, it’s called Nadi Shodhan. The alternate nostril breathing can be done as part of a yoga or meditation practice or when you feel a bit stressed out. It can be practiced daily to help manage stresses in your daily life and to promote wellbeing.
As the name suggests, this simple breathing technique is about paying attention to your breath and become aware of the air that comes in and out your nostrils. Which parts of the body do you feel it? Is it in your chest? Belly? Throat? Simply observe it.