It’s the start of a brand new week and we cannot wait! This #MindfulnessMonday we are bringing you the fourth Yoga Sutra, Pranayama, which translates to extension of the life force or of the breath. If you have every taken a yoga class, we are sure you have been told to focus on your breath. Many yogis believe that Pranyama is even more important than Asana, for it is Pranayama that is our sustaining force both physically and mentally.
In any physical activity breathing is crucial to propel us forward and ultimately keep us from passing out! But, when we get so caught up in activity be it running, skiing, cycling or yoga, we can find ourselves holding our breath, which of course increases the difficulty of anything we are trying to accomplish. So, in yoga it is extremely important to remember to breathe. Can sound silly, but watch yourself next time and you will see, it is easy to forget to breathe!
Mentally, breathing is crucial too. I am sure every single one of us has been told to “take a breath” in times of anxiety or stress (which can be infuriating), but if you do, you realize it helps and it is not just a little home remedy, it is scientific fact- deep diaphragmatic breathing decreases the release of stress hormones in the body. It sounds overly simple, but it is true. By taking deep belly breaths in through the nose and long controlled out breaths from the mouth, you can decrease the amount of stress hormones (and other toxins) in the body almost instantly. Pretty easy fix, right?
Our favorite way to decompress and really tap into our breath is in wide legged child’s pose. If you can’t get into child’s pose and it’s a breathing emergency (say at your desk on a deadline!!!) just sit there and take 3 minutes to breathe in and out, in and out, in and out. We hope you have a great, stress-free week. #JustBreathe
Samara Zelniker is a yogi, wine drinker, pet lover and travel junkie.