“Master your breath, Let the self be in bliss, Contemplate the sublime within you.” This blog shows you the power of breathing and warms up in yoga for experiencing the best.”
From the golden Indian traditions arises the sacred system of Yoga. Yoga belongs to the Hindu Philosophical traditions (philosophies, teachings, world view). As one of the six orthodox schools of Hindu Philosophy, yoga incorporates the practice of asanas, pranayama, meditation, mantra, mudra, shat-kriya that unite your senses, emotions, thoughts, and feelings into a whole.
- Asana: An asana is a body movement. In the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali, asana is translated as a steady and comfortable seat, especially for the purpose of meditation. Moving the body into different shapes and forms is asana. Hatha Yoga texts claim that the performance asanas bestows the sadhak (practitioner) with physical and spiritual benefits. In recent terms, it is more associated with the rewards of flexibility, strength, balance, stress release, and disease alleviation.
- Pranayama: The practice of controlling the vital force of energy–breath. When you sit for pranayama and make an attempt to control the breath, you become conscious of how it flows through the body and its influence. It is the fourth limb of Ashtanga yoga. It enhances awareness and relaxation; therefore, it is an important element of yoga practice for the pursuit of enlightenment.
- Meditation: Meditation is an art to train and attain attention, to achieve mindfulness, and to embrace a mentally and emotionally harmonious state. Mantra chanting is integral to meditation. Mantras are sacred words carrying positive vibrations, thus purifying your body, mind, and soul.
- Shat-Kriyas: Shat-kriyas are yogic cleansing practices aimed at both physical and mental purification. By making the body free from toxins, kriyas prepare the body for the practice of asanas, pranayama, and meditation. There are six cleansing practices: Neti, Kapal Bhati, Dhauti, Basti, Nauli, and Trataka.
All these practices are at the core of yoga science. But, more often breathing gets ignored. Mostly, postures are not coordinated with the breath, and many practitioners do not practice the science of deep breathing, pranayama to the fullest. Also, many practitioners do not warm-up their body before the start of yoga because they are unaware of the fact that it is important.
Why You Should Warm Up Before Yoga?
- In yoga asana practice, like other physical exercises, you stretch your muscles, while creating a safe space in the joints. Warming up the body before practicing the challenging yoga poses can save your muscles and joints from injury.
- Including warm-up exercises before yoga session is crucial because it heats the body from inside, thus gradually increasing blood circulation and fluid retention. Blood circulation gets further enhanced by yoga asanas.
- A warm-up before the practice helps in loosening the muscles that are stiff so that you can maneuver in yoga poses gracefully and effectively. Additionally, stiffness results in the injury of the muscles and joints.
- When you do not indulge in warm-up sessions, it becomes difficult for you to maintain a steady posture because of stiffness. And, in order to receive the maximum benefits of the asanas practices, it is imperative that your postural alignment is correct. Incorrect posture can cause strain and tear of tendons, ligaments, tissues.
- Flexibility is another advantage of warm-up exercises. Flexibility supports you when you step on a yoga mat to perform advanced yoga asanas. For challenging poses, a body which is flexible, loose and warm is ideal.
- Warm-ups prepare not only the body but also the mind. Warm-up period before yoga provides a good chance for the practitioners to address their mental tensions. It serves as the basis to focus attention and to create awareness.
- Warm-up brings greater oxygen and vitality to the spine so that you become the recipient of the subtle rewards of yoga.
Scientific studies reveal that without warming up the body before yoga makes you vulnerable to poor performance and injuries. When you warm up your body properly the blood circulation level, oxygen level, fluid level, energy level increases within the body preparing you for absolute bliss.
Why Breathing Is Important For Yoga?
We have heard it a million times, and we all know it, breathing is vital for living and practicing yoga. It is the essence of life as well as the science of yoga. Yet, we do not make optimal use of breath in yoga. Here are the reasons why the emphasis is laid on proper breathing:
- Physically, when you tune into your breath during the practice of yoga poses, you benefit your muscles. The muscle contraction and release during continuous breathing flushes the body with more oxygen. The rush of oxygen in the body allows your muscle to perform more effectively without tensions. This is the reason you experience a relaxation effect after a yoga session.
- Breathing is important for yoga because of mental purposes. When your breath coordinates with the poses, you become aware of your surroundings. This awareness helps you stay in the poses for a longer period of time. The longer you stay, the more beneficial it is for you.
- Practice Ujjayi breathing. Ujjayi breathing regulates the heat of the body. As the internal body gets warmed up, you are able to perform intermediate and challenging yoga postures easily and effectively. The heat cleanses the system and protects the internal organs from stretching.
- When you breathe while moving the body in poses or when you practice pranayama, the emotional stress and disturbing thoughts vanish. Your body’s energy flows freely, opening any physical or emotional blockages and opening you up. This gives a ‘feel good effect’ to you.
- Breathing lends rewards such as diminished body pain, reduction in anxiety, decrease in phlegm, and provides strength to the nervous and digestive system.
- Breathing enhances and empowers your yoga practice so that you emerge victoriously.
- In yoga practice and life, the breath can be your true teacher, helping you navigate in myriad ways.
Warm-up before your yoga session and perform yoga asanas in connection with the breath in order to make your yoga sessions enlivening.
This guest post was brought to you by Manmohan Singh
Manmohan Singh is a passionate Yogi, Yoga Teacher and a Traveller in India. He organize 200 hour Yoga Teacher Training in Rishikesh. Manmohan Singh conducts Yoga Teacher Training in India in different cities. He loves writing and reading books related to yoga, health, nature, Himalayas and Trekking in India.
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