Doing good breathwork in Hatha yoga is just as important as doing quality asanas, so breathing correctly before, during, and after the practice is necessary.
And while breathing is another mindless part of their yoga practice for some people, it is magic for experienced yogis.
The breath is a natural way to stay calm and connect with your mind to control its impulses and bring awareness to your thoughts.
In this article, we will go over why breath can bring many benefits to your yoga practice and how you can better your techniques. Just stick to your regular yoga breathing exercises, and you will get better!
The yoga flow can be enriched by allowing yourself to let go of your intrusive thoughts and let your breath wash them away.
Mental and Physical Benefits of Breath in Hatha Yoga
Good Hatha yoga breathing techniques have numerous mental and physical benefits, and we have some of the most important to consider.
After practicing yoga breath exercises, you will see all the good that comes from it in no time.
Breathwork can remove muscle tension, realign the posture, and remove joint compression. By holding our breath, we prevent nutrients and oxygen from reaching our organs and muscles.
The more you work on your breath, the more it becomes automated and blends into your consciousness. Soon you will feel how your body moves with your breath, especially during challenging asanas or flows. With them, you will see how taking control of your breathing becomes difficult.
Breathworks improves digestion by lowering cortisol levels and this frees energy that the body uses for digestion.
Breathing brings harmony to our outer and inner selves so that we can experience life fully and wholly.
Good breathing releases anxiety and tension, revitalizes our spirit, and lets our minds roam freely without any alarming thoughts coming in.
Breathing also boosts the attention span and improves the prefrontal cortex oxygen levels, which boosts our logic and reasoning.
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Breath Techniques to Try
Breathing techniques are easy to do on the physical side but hard to keep up, so they can stay deep.
The more you do them, the more your shallow breathing will go away and let good deep breathing in.
Before going into detail on the different breathing techniques, we suggest you practice breathing even in your daily life.
Simply breathe from the diaphragm and draw the air from the nose. Once you fill the lungs, you can exhale slowly. This can be of a massive difference if done regularly and correctly.
Basic Breath Techniques and Belly Breathing
The first step to having good breath is to be aware of it. Most of us are anxious and stressed, so our breath is often rapid and shallow.
This is why we should notice and acknowledge what that means to us.
Bring awareness to your breath by breathing through the nose and noticing the exhale and inhale. Ask yourself what the depth is, the quality, the direction, does it need change, etc. Ideally, stay like this for a couple of minutes.
Also, deep belly breathing is another way to calm down and follow your breath. This type of breathing targets the biggest cranial nerve, the vagus nerve, which soothes our stress and calms the brain.
You can do this by resting your hands on your belly, breathing deep, and sending the breath toward the abdomen.
Simply imagine a balloon in the belly. Once you inhale, the balloon expands in your hands, and on exhale, you deflate it.
Do this before your practice and at the end of it or anywhere during your day.
Kapalabhati (Breath of Fire)
This breathing technique is known as the Skull Shining Breath or the Breath of Fire. It enriches your mind and body and starts your practice well.
Do a couple of rounds before the yoga practice.
You can do this technique of the yoga breath of fire by taking a deep inhale through the nose and exhaling slowly through it again. Keep the mouth closed, inhale, and exhale by making your lower abs force the air in short spurts.
This inhalation will pass between each quick and active exhale. The technique should feel like a poke in the stomach when you exhale. Try 20 breaths and take a break for regular breathing before starting again.
Ujjayi breathing enriches Hatha yoga, and it’s practiced by resisting air passage through the throat. Due to its sound, it’s often referred to as Oceanic Breath.
You can do this technique by inhaling through the nose, opening your mouth, and exhaling slowly by making the “HA” sound. Try it with an open mouth and then close it by keeping the back of the throat in the same shape by making the same sound as your exhale only through the nose.
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Kumbhaka Pranayama, also known as breath retention, is the practice of holding your breath a little, breathing some more, and holding it for as long as possible, then exhaling.
This type of breathing oxygenates the blood; for some anxious people, this can start with holding their breath for short periods.
Nadi Shodhana Pranayama
Nadi Shodhana Pranayama, a.k.a Alternate Nostril Breathing, can unblock and purify your energy channels and nadis that go through the body.
Some studies show that those who practice this breathing technique have better focus and low blood pressure. Nostril breathing is often done at the end of yoga practices.
To wrap up, breathwork is fantastic for supercharging your yoga practices. Breathing correctly can deepen your spiritual levels and help the body repair and recharge faster. Breathing techniques are golden for keeping the mind and body aware and relaxed.
We often take breathing for granted, but there are so many dimensions to it that it’s a shame not to explore each one.
We suggest trying some of the suggested techniques and wish you a good yoga journey. Remember that these yoga breathing techniques can be mastered by the art of repetition. Just don’t give up!
Are breathing techniques vital for yoga practices?
The proper breathing techniques make up at least half of the yoga practice by introducing great benefits for the mind and body.
How to know which breathing technique is the right one?
You can ask your yoga teacher which breathing techniques suit your current level of asanas.
What are the benefits of breathing techniques?
Breathing techniques’ big benefits are the good focus, better gut health, less anxiety, and less stress.
Is breath important for beginner yogis?
Proper breathing techniques must be incorporated at the beginning of your yoga journey so you can get used to them.
Can these exercises help for anxiety?
Yes, there is certain yoga breathing for anxiety. This may lead to improvement.
Can yoga breath help with high blood pressure?
Yes, there is yoga breathing exercise for high blood pressure. We still recommend seeing a doctor, though.