Asana and Breathing

Posted by Michele Harney, Yoga Rathgar & Dundrum – Dublin

Āsana and Breathing – Lecture Notes from TKV Desikachar April 1992

“The trunk is the most important part of the body, most postures are adjustments of the legs and to a lesser extent the arms. It is possible to do many postures without moving the trunk.

The trunk is involved in the breathing, it brings out changes in the most vital part of the body.

So much happens in the spine with the breath, we need to be aware of our breathing to have a maximum effect on the spine.

– Inhalation – straightens the spine – expanding/ awakening
– Exhalation – contracts the spine – shrinking/ contracting

The lower abdomen is the dullest part of the spine, it is the starting point for the exhalation. Exhalation is the most important part of the breath, it encourages the inhalation. By increasing the exhalation we bring attention to the lower abdomen.

Emphasis on the inhale brings attention to the upper chest, with the retention of the breath after the inhale the spine will stretch and create heat.

There can be refinement of the posture through the breath.

The attention is within the posture if we concentrate on the breath.

– Breathing is done in a harmonious way, Yoga is non-violent.
– Breath should be slow, smooth and powerful. It should be held for 1”-2” after the inhale to prevent contraction.
– Retention is also the extension of the hold after the exhale and it is carried out to retain the state of contraction.

Breath presents different possibilities in Āsana. The breath makes it possible to find ways to achieve access to the posture, it is possible to adapt a posture through the breath. By varying the breath we vary the effect.

The focus should be on the contraction or expansion of the abdomen or chest during Āsana.

It is necessary to complete an exhale otherwise the inhale will get shorter. Contraction of the stomach after the exhale will make it more effective.”

Courtesy – Paul Harvey’s Daily Quotes Page cYs

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