The most important part of the Let It Go Yoga practice is the
connection to the prana or the life force. It is enhanced by adding
the diaphragmatic breathing to the practice. The whole body is involved
and you learn to engage a long, slow breath.
Babies breathe diaphragmatically, but as adults we tend to breath in a
more shallow way, and only in the upper chest. By emphasizing the breath
coming all the way down to the belly button, and also by taking a long
time on each inhale and exhale, you access the full capacity of the
breathing apparatus. By breathing full deep breaths throughout the class
you will feel the benefits of calmness, clear-headedness, increased
energy and mental peace as bringing more oxygen into the blood simulates
all the systems to recharge and renew.
Using the breath as a focus is a great way to add awareness and to
practice concentration. The ever present breath is always with you as a
gentle reminder to pay attention and focus in the present moment.
Diaphragmatic breathing is easy to learn in most cases. Sometimes
though, we are filled with tension and hold emotions in the abdominal
area and it can be hard to let go. It takes practice to let the
abdominal muscles relax in order to take deep breaths, especially if
you were told “to hold your stomach in”! It may take time to learn
that it is “ok” to let the stomach muscles relax and that you are
actually getting stronger abdominal muscles when you breathe deeply.
To practice, lie down in Savasana, the Corspe Pose. Place a blanket
under your head for support. Close your eyes and take long deep breaths
in and out through your nose. Place one hand over your belly button and
feel your belly lift up on the inhale and then sink down on the exhale.
When you feel comfortable with it, allow your hand to rest by your side
and take some time to notice the rise and the fall of your breath.
It won’t take long to feel the benefits of this deep breathing practice.
Once you have it lying down, use the same process while sitting in a
chair and then while standing upright.
You can use the diaphragmatic breath anytime in your life when you want
to feel calmer and more peaceful. All you need to do is to practice,
practice, practice. You are one deep breath away from feeling better.
Sue Anne Parsons