Pranayama – Breathing – Day 5 – 2021 – Vilona Pranayama – Retained Breath

Good Morning Yogis! Today is Pranayama Day! We are in the middle of a special Pranayama week.

cool perspective looking through bare aspen trees at alpine lake with cloudless blue sky and bright sun - pranayama breath breathing Quote: Breathe in, take what life hands you; hold it, accept it; breathe out, let it go. - Susan Gable
Breathe in, take what life hands you; hold it, accept it; breathe out, let it go. – Susan Gable

Today’s Daily Yogi Practice is Vilona Pranayama or Retained Breath, a Pranayama Practice. We will start diaphragmatic breathing, which is part one of this breath. Vilona Pranayama translates as “against the wave” and is a retained breath technique. We recommend incorporating this breath technique into your Asana practice if poses are held for an extended period! Or, you can use this cooling breath technique to calm down after an active workout, or to help with anxiety.

Diaphragmatic Breath

  • Start by evaluating your current breath pattern. Place one hand on your chest, and the other on your belly. Breathe in and out, and notice when the hands resting on your belly and chest move to indicate expansion. You SHOULD use your diaphragm and breathe into your belly, so your belly expands on the inhale and contracts on the exhale. Most of us breathe shallowly into our chest only, and our belly hand never moves!  
  • Breathe in and make sure your belly expands, pushing your hand out as your entire torso fills with air
  • Breathe out, contracting the belly, making sure you empty the lungs completely
  • Continue breathing in to a full count of 6, and out to a full count of 6, using your diaphragm to fill your lungs with air, and contract the belly to empty lungs completely. Focus on keeping your chest hand fairly still, and using your diaphragm to breathe into your belly.

Vilona Pranayama / Retained Breath

  • VARIATION 1 – Retain before Inhale: Diaphragmatic breathing is the first part of this breath! Make sure you complete 10 full inhalations and exhalations, counting to 6 for each inhale and exhale. Then, hold your breath for a count of 6 before each inhale. Your breath pattern will be Inhale 6, Exhale 6, Hold 6, Inhale 6…
  • VARIATION 2 – Retain before Exhale: Diaphragmatic breathing is the first part of this breath! Make sure you complete 10 full inhalations and exhalations, counting to 6 for each inhale and exhale. Then, hold your breath for a count of 6 before each exhale. Your breath pattern will be Inhale 6, Hold 6, Exhale 6, Inhale 6…
  • VARIATION 3 – Retain before Inhale and Exhale: Diaphragmatic breathing is the first part of this breath! Make sure you complete 10 full inhalations and exhalations, counting to 6 for each inhale and exhale. Then, hold your breath for a count of 6 before each inhale AND exhale. Your breath pattern will be Inhale 6, Hold 6, Exhale 6, Hold 6, Inhale 6…
light blue breath graphic on dark blue background

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Please comment and let me know what you thought of this Pranayama exercise! Do you incorporate Pranayama into your Asana practice? Have you tried retained breath? Do you have another Pranayama practice you particularly enjoy? Always remember, be kind!

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