Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Posture Discussion Part I - Pranayama Breathing

269 classes in 259 days.

Today I'm starting a multi-part series of blogs about the different postures. These cover my experience and opinions on the postures, rather than just a clinical technique and benefit discussion of the postures. If you want that data, check with one of your teachers. I'll discuss my personal benefits and thoughts. Hopefully, people find this interesting and/or helpful!

Pranayama Breathing:
Teachers all the time will tell us that this sets the tone for the entire class, and it's true. It's easy to get complacent on this, but when I concentrate on it, it really does help me the rest of class.

One of the first and immediate benefits I gained from Bikram Yoga were improvements in my breathing. This is not something I really thought about before. After all, breathing automatically happens in the body. How much could there be to learn about it? But honestly, I was breathing incorrectly my whole life, and so do most people. There's no good reason I know of to breathe in and out of the mouth, but I used to do that all the time, particularly while exercising. Now I have excellent control over my breath in and out of class. In class, I generally have a very steady and even pace of breath throughout the entire class, regardless of the postures I'm in, and I can't even hear myself breathe. Nor do I do dramatic exhales while coming out of postures, something my teachers refer to as, "yogasims." If you're breathing correctly, this never happens.

All of the above are made possible by Pranayama Breathing, that's why it's the very first thing we do each class. As far as improvements I've made, my lung capacity is MUCH higher than before and I can get my elbows up pretty high now. A few times my teachers have pointed out I looked bored doing it, and they're right. I know how important it is, but I do get bored! That's the thing I'm working on improving the most right now.

Next up... Half-Moon.


  1. I like the idea of discussing each pose. About this particular one, it's true, breathing is everything and pranayama sets the tone for the rest of the class. Not sure if I look bored doing it, I am going to check tomorrow. Should be an easy to improve ;)

  2. Nice posting. Do you know about these pranayama books?