Those of you who have practiced Yin Yoga know that it is quite different than more Yang forms of Yoga. So it would go to follow that the breath techniques are different as well. In more active forms of Yoga the breaths are sometimes used to bring energy up. But in a Yin Practice we want to keep the energy very grounded and in the lower or more ‘Yin’ areas of the body.
One of the easiest Yin Breaths to practice is belly breathing, or Diaphragmatic breathing as it is know in anatomical circles.
Sadly in our culture we are often breathing high up in the chest or rib area and this shallow breathing limits the diaphragm’s range of motion. We aren’t using our full lungs so we aren’t using fully oxygenated air. That can make us feel short of breath, anxious and tired.
Deep abdominal breathing allows for full oxygen exchange. Full deep breathing can:
slow the heartbeat
lower or stabilize blood pressure
calm the mind and help with anxiety
bring the body into relaxation response
Because most of us aren’t breathing from deep in the belly regularly at first it can feel an bit unnatural, but nothing could be further from the truth. We already breath this way when we sleep we just aren’t aware of it.
So with a bit of practice and mindfulness you’ll be able to access this breath as your default way of breathing.
In the video below I’ll walk you through ways to practice ‘Belly breathing’.