Yoga - helping you breathe better

By Sangita Waters · 12 May 2016

A big thank you to our guest blogger for this week. Sangita is a mother of two, a yoga and meditation teacher and someone who loves making a difference to others, particularly in the area of health and well-being.

Yoga - more than just headstands and downward dogs

So we all know exercise is good for us, the right food is good for us, drinking water is good for us.  BUT how often do you think about breathing??

Unless you have an issue with breathing, like asthma, it might not cross your mind very often.

Except perhaps when you do exercise and you are panting for air with your lungs heaving … using them to their biggest capacity.  Although the average human lung capacity is about 6 litres of air, we typically inhale much, much less. In fact it’s amazing how little of our lung capacity is routinely used. This can be described as shallow breathing, or chest breathing. 

Any person, but especially those with asthma may benefit from moving away from chest breathing and developing an ability to use their lungs at a greater capacity.  Carrying more oxygen into the body and more toxins out. 

A great way to do this is Yoga.

Oh no I hear some of you say …. Yoga ….. That’s not for me!!!

Well let me share one of my favourite quotes with you about yoga:

The Goal of Yoga (no it’s not the headstand). 
The yoga pose is not the goal.  
Becoming flexible is not the goal.
Standing on your hands is not the goal. 
The goal is creating a space where you were once stuck. 
To unveil the protection you’ve built around your heart. 
To appreciate your body and become aware of the mind and the noise it creates. 
To make peace with who you are. 
The goal is to love, well …..You. 
Come to your yoga mat to feel; not to accomplish.
Shift your focus and your heart will grow.

-Rachel Brathen-

Yoga poses are designed to get your body working properly and you don’t have to be fantastic at it to get the benefits.  You don’t have to do the poses “exactly” to get the benefits.

Through learning to teach yoga I discovered that a lot of people think of their lungs as just their chest but they are much more. 

When you breathe in the lungs extend downward and it feels like the belly fills.   The side and back ribs move outwards as the air travels up and that tiny little pocket at the base of your throat is the last thing to fill with air.  Then as the air leaves the body like a waterfall cascading down the cliff the shoulders relax, the chest deflates and the tummy feels like it sucks in as every last molecule of air is squeezed out of the ribs.  Then it begins again…..

You can try this cycle for yourself; sit quietly and slowly let the breath come in and out as described above.

When you combine the breath with physical movements the whole body & mind can settle down.  You will have more space and ability to cope with whatever life throws at you and well…. you will simply feel good! 

So give yoga a go and … breathe!!

Sangita Waters
Guest blogger 

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