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Yoga Breathing Relaxes You
By Joy Abrams MA, FSII

If I were to ask you the question, "Do you know how to breathe?" your response would be "Yes". You might feel that it is foolish to think that one can be told how to breathe because it is an automatic process. Yet one's breathing gets restricted in many ways. You may sit at a desk in a slouched position and that will diminish your lung capacities. You may work in close quarters and that can induce sluggish breathing tendencies in your physical system. Improper breathing can also produce diminished mental abilities.

Have you ever noticed yourself placing your attention on a perplexing problem? The more that you think about the problem and move yourself forward and draw your arms together with your head facing down, the more you reduce your lung capacity. The more intense you become as you focus on the problem the shorter your breath becomes. You feel fatigued from decreased availability of oxygen. It becomes apparent that there is a need for all of us to reverse our tendencies toward restricted breathing.

Gentle breathing exercises should be practiced to promote clearer thinking and a sense of vitality.

Here is an example:
Use your thumb and pinky finger of your right hand
Close off your left nostril with your pinky finger
Inhale through your right nostril for the count of four
Release your pinky finger on your left nostril and place your thumb on your right nostril
Exhale through your left nostril for the count of eight
Work up to doing this eight times
The Joy of Relaxation audiotape will help you with these postures.



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