To live, to breathe

In the photo on the left I am inhaling, slowly filling my lungs with air. In the photo on the right I am fully exhaling, emptying out my lungs. I learned how to breathe into my back last year. It’s difficult to describe the feeling knowing you can breathe into different party of your body. It’s pretty amazing.

Breathing is important. In order to live we have to breathe, right?
I love to share things I learn in yoga. I feel like I am always learning something new about yoga, my practice and my body.
Months ago in Vickie’s class we learned about breathing into our intercostal muscles. I wrote about this new discovery back then.
We worked on it tonight as well. What Vickie also had us do as we laid on our sides was to feel our ribs. I didn’t realize how high up the ribs go. Do you know they go up to your armpit?
When in a challenging yoga pose instructors really have the class focus on breathing. They want us to breathe through an uncomfortable situation. Breathe through that burning thigh or crazy twist. Breathing into a pose can also help you get deeper into a pose.
We are reminded that life is uncomfortable and we can’t always straighten our leg or unbind. So we must learn to deal with uncomfortable situations with our breath. It is a pretty amazing practice to learn.
Whether practicing yoga or stretching before or after a workout I notice the more I focus on inhale and especially my exhale the deeper I can get into a pose or a stretch.
I really focus my breathing when I am stressed, dealing with someone I consider to be presenting me a challenge, times when I am emotional and need to keep it in check (like at work) and any other challenging situations. I like to refer to this as practicing yoga off the mat.
What was recently mentioned in one of my yoga classes (I think by Vickie) was that we all breathe in pretty well. But we don’t give our body and breath the opportunity to fully exhale.
According to this article on Livestrong, by exhaling fully, you eliminate toxins, release what no longer serves you, remove obstacles, increase relaxation, relieve stress, free your respiratory system to inhale more fresh air, and clear the movement of prana. All of that with the power of the breath. Wow.
Don’t forget to breathe.