Take A Deep Breath, You Can Do This: Hatha Yoga Breathing Techniques!
When you think of practicing yoga, your first thought may be related to the many yoga poses you would do in a class. Participating in a yoga class certainly involves moving through and holding yoga postures. However, that is not the only part of the yoga experience. Let’s get into some Hatha yoga breathing techniques.
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In addition to focusing on the postures associated with yoga, breath is considered an important component of the yoga practice. In fact, breathing is the foundation of most yoga styles. Hatha Yoga, which incorporates breath with movement, helps you develop a deeper awareness and connection with yourself.
Regardless of the style of yoga you practice in the Hatha Yoga “category”, breathing will be a primary focus. Whether it is Power Vinyasa Yoga, Hot Yoga, or Restorative Yoga (all of which are Hatha Yoga styles) paying close attention to breathing is key.
Just as there are several yoga styles under the Hatha Yoga category, there are a great number of Pranayama techniques or breathing exercises. Let’s take a look at several Hatha Yoga breathing techniques to get you started on your yoga journey.
A common breathing technique in Hatha Yoga is called Ujjayi Pranayama (oo-jah-yee prah-nah-yah-mah). This is a Sanskrit term meaning “Victorious Breath.”
The intention of Ujjayi breathing is twofold: it provides energy in the body as you move from pose to pose in Hatha Yoga. It also calms and relaxes the mind and body due to the deep, slow breathing process.
Here is how to practice Victorious Breath
- Sit comfortably on a yoga mat or on a high-back chair.
- Sit up tall to lengthen your spine.
- Gently place the tip of your tongue on the roof of your mouth.
- Inhale as if your mouth is open like you were gasping for air in slow motion.
- Exhale as if your mouth is open like you were fogging a mirror.
- Continue for 5-10 breaths.
Tips about Ujjayi Pranayama
- As you practice this style of breathing, you will be able to take long, slow, deep breaths. The result is a slower heart rate and a potential reduction in blood pressure. This has a calming effect on your mind and body.
- This style of breathing is a good way to meditate, too.
- Although your mouth is closed, air will efficiently move through your nose.
- Ujjayi Breath is sometimes called “throat breathing” because you are using your throat muscles to provide energy to the breathing mechanism.
- The energy that you generate with this style of Pranayama will also provide energy for your body as you move through a Hatha Yoga class.
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Another Hatha Yoga breathing technique that is beneficial for a calming, meditative result as well as energizing the body is 5-5-7 Breathing. The numbers relate to the pause of your breaths.
How to Practice 5-5-7 Breathing
- Sit upright in a chair or on a yoga mat.
- As you inhale through your nose, count slowly to 5.
- Hold your breath at the top of the inhale for 5 seconds.
- Slowly exhale through your mouth (or nose) for 7 seconds.
- Repeat this breathing exercise for 5-10 rounds.
Tips About 5-5-7 Breathing
- This style of Pranayama helps you pay close attention to your whole being. It is a great way to tune out the distractions of the outside world so you can concentrate on yourself and your needs.
- This breathing exercise works well in a meditative practice or a restorative yoga practice while you’re holding relaxing yoga poses.
- You can also use this breath in a more active yoga style like Vinyasa Yoga while you hold poses like Downward Facing Dog.
Final Thoughts On Hatha Yoga Breathing Techniques!
Try practicing these Hatha Yoga breathing techniques. They can be performed on their own without engaging in a moving practice. Focusing on these breathing exercises will help you develop a strong practice of pranayama before incorporating them into your Hatha Yoga moving routine.