How to Breathe: Do you Breathe like a hungry dog?

Do you know how to breathe?  Oddly enough most of you probably don’t know the most effiecient way to breathe.  Yoga can teach you to breathe, but for those of you who don’t feel like trying yoga yet, at least learn to breathe like a yogi.

“When the lungs do their job, they send fresh oxygen throughout the body, purifying the blood and allowing it to travel more efficiently via the arteries and the heart….Someone who doesn’t take practice yoga takes in oxygen the way a hungry dog takes in food.  When you come home at the end of your workday and finally feed him, he will fall on the food and devour it all in half a second.  (The part that doesn’t fall out of the bowl and go all over the floor, that is.)  Untrained lungs will also suck in all the air they can, as fast as they can.  In yoga we learn to sustain the breath, not gasp it all in and out, and that means our whole operation runs more efficiently…With each additional class, you will find that your breath becomes deeper and fuller.  Your lungs are like balloons–they must be properly inflated and stretched to become more flexible and capable of holding and processing more oxygen with greater efficiency.”  Bikram Choudhury Bikram Yoga

For my runners and those who take my classes, you will notice in class I am always telling you to control your breathing.  Work on developing a rhythm of long slow inhales, long slower exhales.  Your heart rate goes down when you control your breath.  The art of learning to get through exercise, to pushing through so that you get stronger and faster is learning to control your breath.  The next time you are in class work to breath all the way into your lungs, filling them completely and then work to empty them close to all the way–all the way if you can but at first just work to get most of that air out!  (When you are resting between sets, force yourself to empty them all the way.  This will help get rid of carbon dioxide faster, which is the main driver towards elevated breathing, not as most think a need a for oxygen.)

how to breathe

For my fellow yogis, I was reading Jivamukti Yoga, Practices for Liberating Body and Soul.

I found a picture very similar to this.  My past couple practices I have tried to envision air flowing into and out of my lungs like the above picture.  Nice and slow.  It has really helped me find a new focus.  Thank you Miko and Rebecca for creating such a great energy today in class 🙂

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