One of the Five Principles of Yoga is Pranayama or Breathing which promotes proper breathing. The Yogis realized the importance of an adequate oxygen supply thousands of years ago to promote more oxygen to the brain and prevent disease. It is imperative that you learn how breathe before beginning your Yoga practice.
In a world where women are pulled in so many directions, it is even more important to take the time to get in touch with your body. According to Syd Hoffman, Owner of Joyful Yoga in Chandler, Arizona (www.joyfulyogastudio.com), “Yoga provides a safe time for women to forget their ‘to do’ list & just be in the present moment, listening to their breath and feeling each muscle smile as it is being stretched. Taking care of others does not exist at this time!”
Hoffman says, no matter what stage of life we are in, the result of practicing Yoga, in particularly its’ foundation of Pranayama or Breathing, is a reduction of “life symptoms”. “Yoga is one of the best drug-free, healthy ways to get rid of all our hormonal discomfort due to the awkward hormonal imbalance of being a woman such as menstruation, pregnancy, and menopause,” says Hoffman.
The following breathing exercise can help you establish the foundation of Yoga Practice:
You will learn how to take a full breath and cycle that breath through properly to form a basis for your Yoga practice. Your goal is to develop full use of your lungs and establish a mind/body connection as you get in touch with the rhythm of your breathing. Start by lying on your back, with your knees bent. Place your left hand on your abdomen and your right hand on your chest, becoming aware of how your hands move in and out with each breath. Next, practice filling your lower lungs by breathing so that your left hand goes up when you inhale and your right hand remains still. Always inhale through your nose and exhale through your mouth. Repeat this ten times. Now, we will continue to inhale deeper as you not only fill your lower lungs but continue inhaling into your upper chest. As you do so, your right hand will rise and your left hand will fall a little as your abdomen falls.