Trouble Breathing

Tuesday, 3 July 2007, 22:25 | Category : Uncategorized
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In yoga, we talk a lot about prana, or breath. Working with your breath can help you get deeper into postures, and can help you maintain a difficult posture longer. It also can affect how you react to stressful situations, and maintain body temperature.

As it happens, most Americans breathe “wrong.” For most of us, when we inhale, our shoulders raise, and our belly sucks in. Then when we exhale, our shoulders drop, but only slightly. If we’re truly using our diaphragm and lungs to breathe the way we should, our bellies should rise with an inhalation, as we bring air into the very bottom of our lungs, and it should lower as we exhale, constricting our diaphragm and pushing air out of our lungs. I’ve been trying to breathe correctly, to see if I can actually feel a difference in my body.

What made me write this is simple: while I was working on my other website, I looked down to see one of my cats sleeping next to the chair. I realized that she breathes correctly – and it made me a little sad that our society teaches us to breathe in such a way that we “stay skinny” and tighten our shoulders up around our ears. At least, we can still find instances of breathing correctly, and with some practice, we can bring our shoulders down, and our bellies out, and learn to use our lungs again.

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