Unleashing Your Inner Yogi: The Art of Breathing
With more than 11 million American practitioners and a history that spans more than 5,000 years, yoga is one workout that can hardly be called a fad. But what is it that makes the practice so enduring, that invites countless people across generations to pursue yoga as they stay focused on losing weight?
The answer may lie in the way yoga facilitates a connection between the body and mind, helping us find a meditative mental calmness as we improve physical strength and flexibility. In addition to offering a great workout, yoga allows our bodies to unwind naturally, giving us time to pay ourselves quiet attention and relieve pent-up pressure. By helping us work with our bodies in harmony, yoga can bring us happiness, tranquility, balance and security while concurrently burning calories.
Yoga opens up infinite possibilities as we delve deeper into the connection that we each have with our own bodies. Regardless of whether you want to become a master yogi or just get some insight into the positive elements of the practice, there are things we can all learn from the concepts of yoga. If you’re ready to forge a deeper connection to your own body, one basic tenet of yoga that may help with your weight loss journey is its focus on breathing.
Every Breath is a Gift
Though it gives us life every second, breathing is one phenomenon we don’t often take the time to appreciate. By focusing on our breathing, yoga has the capability to show us the miracle of our lives in every moment. Even if you don’t have the time each day for a serious yoga session, try taking a few minutes each day to stop everything and focus deeply on each breath you take.
Incorporating yogic breathing practices into your day-to-day life can help you find your center when life has you stressed, upset or anxious. Sitting in quiet tranquility and bringing your attention to each measured breath will absolve you of time-draining tensions and help you focus on the present; your body will become more relaxed and passive as the rhythm of your breathing becomes more even, slow and deliberate.
Once you’ve had a little experience in following your own breath, you can start to incorporate these deliberate breathing practices into yoga poses, coordinating breath with movement to improve all of your actions. However, you may find this kind of mindful breathing applicable to many different activities. The goal is to focus on your breath, especially the exhalation; to release your body and let tension flow away as you breathe out with each active movement.
When we encounter something physically challenging, our impulse is typically to struggle and push back. Notice how and when this happens to you and take the opportunity to center yourself back on your breathing—then begin again. Whenever you experience pain, fear or stiffness, just keep breathing and give your body some time for release. With a little time and practice, this release will help you push yourself further. We all have a tendency to force ourselves into a difficult position or give up despairingly, but staying quiet and focused on your breath will help you stay calm and positive regardless of whether or not you can perform the task.
For many reasons, yoga is a perfect form of fitness for those trying to lose weight. Incorporating gentle movements that just about anyone can do, yoga helps you build strength and flexibility in your whole body to create a reliable foundation for your continued efforts to improve yourself. However, yoga may be most impressive for the way it connects our bodies to our minds—breathing techniques can help us achieve a meditative state that calms our nerves and encourages us to push further in yoga, exercise and life in general.
Have you tried using yoga or breathing techniques in your weight loss program? Share your experiences and tips with us in the comments below!