On the Yoga Mat ~ Breathe

By Melissa McArdle

How often do you notice your breath? Obviously, we all are breathing constantly, but do you ever take a moment and really breathe? Do you focus on the inhale and exhale while imagining the air captured through your mouth and nose and follow the intricate pathways throughout your body? Or do you notice the rhythm of your breathing and allow your mind to wander or settle from the general chaos that surrounds us daily.

One of the many reasons I enjoy yoga is for the art of breathing. When I teach my classes, we always begin with bringing our awareness to the breath, and I continue to shape the practice by encouraging each student to remember to breathe.

Finding your breathing rhythm is an individual task, and then taking that rhythm and allowing it to guide you through vinyasas on the mat and then through your moments off the mat establishes an overall vitality and relaxation.

Surprising as it is, almost none of us use the full capacity of our respiratory organs. Take a few moments today to observe how you are breathing (the chest and abdomen as it rises and falls), and then begin to deepen, lengthen and extend the breaths (and movement of the chest and abdomen).

Breathing goes on day and night, it is the foundation of life. It is one of the simplest stress-reducers we can offer ourselves as well as one of the greatest tools for the benefit of our health. Several times a day, do yourself (and your body) a favor and check in with your breathing patterns by lengthening and deepening the inhales and exhales.  Guaranteed, you will at least enjoy a calming of the mind with this natural integration of the mental and physical balance.

Photo credit: Reverie-Daydream 

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  • Danielle (elleinadspir)

    It’s sooooo important and I forget it daily. I remember trying so hard to teach B to pause and breathe as a toddler…..I think he and I both need to try and remember it more often.

  • http://torriesessions.blogspot.com/ Torrie @ a place to share…

    just in the process of reading the post, my breathing became deeper, ‘longer’, slower… i really needed this reminder this morning, as it’ll be a busy couple of days… days in which i would have otherwise “forgot” about my breathing altogether.

    but knowing what a huge difference it makes to my mind and body, i will now remember (as often as i can, anyways :)).