Affirmation of the Month:
Bri Winton’s Dynamic Human Anatomy:
Have you ever taken a yoga class and heard your teacher say something like:
"inhale lift your left leg, exhale step it through into warrior 2"; or
"inhale lengthen, exhale twist a little more"; or
"on the exhale relax into the pose"?
Well there is a reason for this...actually there are a few.
1) Many students hold their breath in a yoga class, which can become dangerous depending on the length of the hold, and the pace of the class. When the teacher instructs you to breath with each move you make, it allows you to focus on those breaths, and continue through all of the movements, getting proper oxygen to the muscles.
2) Many students hyperventilate in a fast paced yoga class, which can be equally as dangerous as holding the breath. Following the breaths the teacher gives forces this student to slow the breath down to one breath per movement, in order to fully oxygenate the blood.
3) Lastly, our breath and muscle contraction goes hand and hand. There are times in class when it is most beneficial to inhale, while there are other times when an exhale will help facilitate the movement you desire. In general, inhales are linked with a lift up on a body part as the inhale allows fresh oxygen to flood the muscles providing strength. Exhales are generally placed with compression (such as ball pose) and relaxation (such as forward folds).
Try matching your breath with your movements this month and see how it improves your yoga.
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Jeffrey Goldberg’s Practice Tip: Practice from the Inner Center
In our video last month, we provided a few tips about how to do yoga poses as meditation in motion. The steps were: 1) center and set your intention for your practice; 2) focus on the frontal lobe (third eye); 3) diaphragmatic breathing with ujjayi pranayama, inhaling with upward/outer movements and exhaling with downward/inner movements; 4) chant or affirm; and 5) ENJOY yourself!
In today’s tip, we will briefly consider what it means to center yourself at the beginning of practice, and from time to time during your practice: To go into the inner center, inner light, or inner calmness, you stop for a moment and take several long breaths, closing your eyes, and finding your inner center. Do not limit it by making it localized to any specific part of your body or otherwise having any preconceived notions of what it is. Simply let go and allow yourself to go into your center. As you practice doing this more and more, it will become easier to get into this place of inner calm and peace. Nurture this feeling during your entire practice.
Quotation of the Month:
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