The Kardashians Enter the Yogaverse - Yoga Breathing Techniques
If you watched season 15's episode 8 you probably had a pretty good laugh watching Kim, Khloe, and Scott doing the breath of fire in an outdoor yoga class. I know I did!
In the screen capture above, the trio are engaging a popular Kundalini yoga breathing technique called the breath of fire. This is an intense form of breathing that helps to alleviate chronic pain, strengthening the core muscles, and calming the mind. It is recommended to avoid this form of breathing if you are pregnant, have vertigo, or high blood pressure.
Below is an overview of some helpful yoga breathing techniques as you begin to practice.
Yoga Breathing Techniques
Throughout any yoga sequence, it is essential to maintain a consistent and moderate breath. Proper and full yogic breathing maximizes the inhalation and exhalation respectively. On the inhalation, you are filling up your lungs deeply through the nose and a closed mouth versus on the exhalation you are emptying the breath from the abdomen, ribcage, and chest.
To begin your breathing practice, either take a seated position or lay flat on your back. Bring awareness to the natural rhythm and depth of your breathing pattern. Relax your body and take a deep inhalation for four counts through the nose while keeping the mouth closed. Notice with every count how much further your abdomen, ribcage, and chest expands. You may hold your right hand to you belly to gauge this expansion. Then exhale for four counts through the nose noticing how your body is contracting. Practice this exercise five to ten times before launching into the sequence to allow yourself to get used to the rhythm.
Each breath should be one continuous movement supporting your transition from one pose to the next. The breath is used to rhythmically guide the body into each pose as well as infuses the body with the energy needed to move through the poses. Remember that lifting or momentum generating poses require an inhale along with full engagement of the abdominal and pelvic muscles. This will enable the power needed to shift the body's weight into the desired pose. Contrastingly, contracting or twisting poses require an exhale which enables the body to move deeper into the pose.
In addition, focusing on the breath helps to take your mind off the discomfort you may be feeling in any given pose. The breath is used to soothe your discomfort as your body learns to hold the position using muscles previously underutilized. However, it is important to listen to your body and get out of a pose that is causing pain over discomfort. Avoid holding your breath as you transition in and out of poses because it tenses the body putting you at risk for injury.