Pranayama – Breathing – Day 3 – 2021 – Diaphragmatic Breath

Happy Sunday! Today is also Valentines Day – Happy Valentines Yogis! We are doing a special series this month covering the 3-8th Limbs of Yoga. We just finished a week of special Asana (3rd Limb) focused practices examining different styles of Yoga you will likely find at your Yoga studio. This week we will cover Pranayama practices, and next we will focus on the upper limbs and meditation practices. We are going to review Diaphragmatic Breathing today, which is usually the first step for all Pranayama techniques.

blue shadowy snow on rocky mountain cliff with snow-covered dark rocks and pine trees with bright sun peeing out through trees - pranayama breath breathing Quote: When you arise in the morning, think of what a precious privilege it is to be alive, to breathe, to think, to enjoy, to love. - Marcus Aurelius
When you arise in the morning, think of what a precious privilege it is to be alive, to breathe, to think, to enjoy, to love. – Marcus Aurelius

Today’s Daily Yogi Practice is Diaphragmatic Breath, a Pranayama Practice. Today we are going to try either standing in Tadasana, or laying down, rather than in a comfortable seat as we have done in the past. I love practicing Pranayama laying down in Shavasana, as I feel I can breathe deeper into my belly. We recommend incorporating this breath technique into your Asana practice, and bringing it forward into meditation! This is also a great calming technique for anxiety.

Diaphragmatic Breath

  • Start either standing in Tadasana or laying down in Shavasana. Begin 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.

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Please comment and let me know what you thought of this Pranayama exercise! Did you try standing in Tadasana or laying down in Shavasana today? What did you think? Always remember, be kind!

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Pranayama – Breathing – Day 9 – 2020 – Diaphragmatic Breath

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snowy alpine valley snow covered dark green pine trees and snow capped mountain with bright blue sky and wispy white clouds - breath breathing pranayama Quote: Breathing well means breathing more slowly and deeply. Relax, feel your breathing, and breathe comfortably. Once aware, it naturally becomes deeper and slower. - Iichii Lee
Breathing well means breathing more slowly and deeply. Relax, feel your breathing, and breathe comfortably. Once aware, it naturally becomes deeper and slower. – Iichii Lee

Happy Friday Yogis! Before we get into our detailed review of the Sun Salutations Asana Series discussed yesterday, we will take two days to cover the remaining 8 Limbs of Yoga. We are going to review Diaphragmatic Breathing today, along with our challengers, with a slightly different approach.

Today’s Daily Yogi Practice is Diaphragmatic Breath, a Pranayama Practice. Today we are going to try either standing in Tadasana, or laying down, rather than in a comfortable seat as we have done in the past. I love practicing Pranayama laying down in Shavasana, as I feel I can breathe deeper into my belly. We recommend incorporating this breath technique into your Asana practice, and bringing it forward into meditation! This is also a great calming technique for anxiety.

Diaphragmatic Breath

  • Start either standing in Tadasana or laying down in Shavasana. Begin 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.

Get the Daily Yogi App – Get quick access to
today’s practice and daily pop-up reminders!

Please comment and let me know what you thought of this Pranayama exercise! Did you try standing in Tadasana or laying down in Shavasana today? What did you think? Always remember, be kind!

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Upper 4 Limbs of Yoga – Day 7 – Pratyahara – Withdrawal of Senses – Guided Meditation

Good Morning Yogis! We have completed our daily positive practices and meditations inspired by the first four Limbs of Yoga, and are back to the Upper Limbs. We are also in the middle of a bonus Daily Meditation Challenge for October’s Emotional Wellness Month. As we have discussed, the upper limbs build upon all four of the previous limbs, and sequentially upon each other. These practices are all meditation focused and therefore must truly be attained on your own. We will take the next few days in our Meditation-focused month for daily practices inspired by the first three Upper Limbs. Today we will discuss the 5th Limb of Yoga – Pratyahara and try a Pratyahara Guided Meditation.

Pratyahara is the 5th Limb of Yoga, and is usually translated as withdrawal of the senses. “Prati” means against or away, and “Ahara” means food or anything we take into ourselves. So, this literally means to stop taking things into ourselves. This is typically the first step for meditation – letting the outside world slip away, and going inside. The point is not about isolating yourself from outside distractions, it is about withdrawing into yourself, and then allowing outside distractions to fade away. Please see our detailed discussion on Pratyahara for more.

Today’s Daily Yogi Practice is to try a Pratyahara-focused Meditation Practice. You can try this with Shavasana / corpse pose after an Asana practice, with a guided meditation, or on your own.. whatever feels right to you! Remember this is a practice, and a difficult one.. so be patient with yourself on this journey!

Bonus Daily Meditation Challenge

We have a bonus daily meditation challenge for October. Today I recommend trying this Pratyahara Guided Meditation perfect for Shavasana after your Asana practice.

Pratyahara Guided Meditation

Please comment and let me know which you tried, and what you thought of this Pratyahara Meditation! If you have another favorite, then please share the link! Always remember, be kind!

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Asanas – Poses – Day 3 – Shavasana – Corpse Pose

Good morning Yogis! We are continuing our cycle through the Yoga Sutras with the third limb of Yoga – Asanas. Since we are in the middle of a September Asana Challenge, we are featuring a new Asana that represents each of the Yoga Sutras! Shavasana (shah-VA-sa-nuh) or Corpse Pose is my choice for Asana Day today – this is possibly the most important Asana, and we have not discussed it yet!

We are in the middle of a daily Asana practice challenge for September! Please see our Asana Styles page for links to YouTube videos for various Yoga Styles. For Ishvara Pranidhana Day today, I recommend a gentle Yin or Restorative class.

I usually practice with the Yoga Studio App rather than streaming services, so I can download my favorite classes and use in areas without WiFi or phone signal. Today I am doing Intermediate Relaxation (30 minutes).

Today’s Daily Yogi Practice is to try focus on Shavasana or Corpse Pose in your Asana practice today for Asana Day! Shavasana at the end of your Asana practice is important for your body to take in the changes you made during that session. Also, the Shavasana section of an Asana class is a great time for meditation and Pranayama.

I learned you should have 5 minutes of Shavasana for every 30 minutes of practice. However, this means only 10 minutes of Shavasana after an hour of practice, but I have read about more meditative benefits of Shavasana at 15 minutes and longer. Perhaps adjust your practice schedule to allow for a longer Shavasana today!

Shavasana – Corpse Pose

Shavasana – Corpse

Lay on your back, and allow your legs and feet to gently splay open. Rest your arms a few inches away from your body, with palms facing up. Close your eyes, and allow your entire body to relax and sink into the mat.

To come out, gently roll onto your right side, then press your hand into the mat to come back up slowly into a seated position.

Take deep breaths into your belly (perhaps try Vilona Pranayama or Yogic / Three-Part Breath). You can use a couch pillow under your head and/or knees, or any modifications to make this pose more comfortable for an extended time. I occasionally take Shavasana with knees bent and feet on the floor, and/or with elbows bent and hands under my head or cactus-arms to the side.

PS If you are comfortable with variations of these poses, please tag us with your pictures on Instagram!

Please comment to share your experience! Do you always include Shavasana with your Asana practice? Have you taken a 15 minute or longer Shavasana before? Always remember, be kind!

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Upper 4 Limbs of Yoga – Day 2 – Pratyahara – Withdrawal of Senses

Good Morning Yogis! As we have discussed, the upper limbs build upon all four of the previous limbs, and sequentially upon each other. These practices are all meditation focused and must truly be attained on your own. I had a question about differences in these levels of meditation. Since this is very heavy philosophy, we will spread these out and discuss each level in detail on our days dedicated to the upper limbs.

Pratyahara is the 5th Limb of Yoga, and is usually translated as withdrawal of the senses. “Prati” means against or away, and “Ahara” means food or anything we take into ourselves. So this literally means to stop taking things into ourselves. This is typically the first step for meditation – letting the outside world slip away, and going inside.

Please keep in mind that Pratyahara is not about finding a perfectly quiet area to meditate… I live in a remote area in the mountains of Colorado, where the silence was at first deafening after moving from Peachtree Street in Atlanta. However, it is never truly quiet here! Whether the wind is blowing, birds or marmots are chirping, dirt bikes and ATVs are zipping around, or the nearby creek is raging, there is ALWAYS some kind of distraction. Again, the point is not about isolating yourself from these distractions, it is about withdrawing into yourself, and allowing outside distractions to fade away.

Shavasana, or corpse pose, is one of the first ways many new Yogis (including myself!) experience Pratyahara. Yoga Instructors allow a quiet space at the end of class to encourage us to allow our bodies and minds to fade away. There are also guided meditations to encourage this. Or, if you are practiced with meditation, this is typically your first step before moving into a deep meditation.

Today’s Daily Yogi Practice is to try a Pratyahara-focused Meditation Practice. You can try this with Shavasana / corpse pose after an Asana practice, with a guided meditation, or on your own.. whatever feels right to you! Remeber this is a practice, and a difficult one.. so be patient with yourself on this journey!

Calming Asana close with long Shavasana

Pratyahara Guided Meditation

Please comment and let me know which you tried, and what you thought of this Pratyahaha exercise! If you have another favorite, please share the link! Always remember, be kind!

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