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Yoga breathing techniques

“Yoga breathing is called the pranayama, which means ‘To extend the vital life source,’” explains yoga instructor Lisa Winters Cox.

Yoga breathing has numerous benefits and can help you:

  • Reduce stress
  • Relieve anxiety
  • Increase attention and focus
  • Expand your lung capacity

Winters Cox explains how to practice the Ujjayi Breath, also known as the healing breath.  

  1. Sit in a comfortable cross-legged position.
  2. Sitting up tall, extend your spine and “make room” in your torso to expand the lungs.
  3. Breathe in and out only through your nose. This cleanses the breath and heats the body.
  4. Begin to extend the inhale and the exhale to five counts each, matching the duration and the tension on the inhale as well as the exhale. This is also known as a “same-same” breath.
  5. As you breathe in and out, engage your abdominal muscles. On an inhale, pull the abdominal muscles toward your spine and maintain that engagement as you exhale. This diaphragmatic breathing is known as ujjayi breathing.
  6. Close your eyes and continue to breathe in this way for as long as desired.

“It should sound much like an ocean and we should hear it internally and externally,” says Winters Cox. “Breathing in this way for even five to 10 minutes a day can bring much wellness to our daily lives.”

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