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#5: Pranayamas

In every yoga class that I have been, most of the teachers do not teach us the proper breathing methods. Most often, I would be breathing through my mouth instead of my nose. However, after attending this course, I realized the importance of having right Pranayama techniques. Pranayama is referred to as the expansion of our vital energy, and the major role of pranayama allow the nervous system to be soothed and be calmed during the process. Pranayama techniques are also essential for people who have anxiety issues or depression. People with such issues usually have breaths that are really shallow and rapid, which decreases the average percentage of oxygen entering the victim’s lungs. Doing proper breathing exercises will allow more oxygen to enter our body, thus helping in rejuvenating our mind and organs.

I have learnt in class that there are several breathing techniques that we can use to teach our future students. In this blog, I would like to talk two breathing techniques that I want to teach my students and the reasons for it.

One of the first and most important breathing techniques, that we as yogis do everyday, is the Ujjayi breathing. Ujjayi breathing is basically breathing from the throat through the nose. We are told to seal our lips during ujjayi breathing so that the circulation of oxygen would be at its maximum. During ujjayi breathing, we inhale and exhale through our nose, but create the hissing sounds from the throat. Ujjayi breathing is vital during yoga practices because this helps us to stay in any pose longer. It can also reduce the chance of having muscle aches after practice because our muscles will have oxygen supplied to them properly. Students who do not do proper ujjayi breathing tend to be more breathless during yoga practices, and might not feel as refreshed as they should have felt.

Another breathing method that I would want to teach my future students would be Anulom Vilom. This breathing is very useful because in Singapore, there are many people who has sinus, or other common issues that has to do with the lungs, throat, nose and eyes. Anulom Vilom targets the 3 energy channels in our body, the Shushoma, Ida and Pingala nadis. When activating the 3 channels in our body, we tend to get instant stress relief, and this technique even helps to strengthen the nervous system. Read it in several articles, it is believed that this technique can help people with diabetes, heart diseases and even reduces the high cholesterol levels. In our urbanized society, these three are one of the few leading medical conditions and it would be good if we can relief and reverse these conditions.

[Estee Ng, June 2015 Hatha Vinyasa YTTC]