Terre Pruitt's Blog

In the realm of health, wellness, fitness, and the like, or whatever inspires me.

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Posts Tagged ‘yoga breathing’

Rhythmic Breathing Health Helper

Posted by terrepruitt on September 11, 2019

I’ve written several posts about pranayama, the fourth limb of yoga, the practice or control (yama) of life force (prana), basically breathing techniques or exercises. I’ve posted about Dirgha or 3 Part Breath, Samavrtti or Equal Breath, Ujjayi or Victorious Breath/Ocean Breath, and Sitali or Cooling Breath. In those posts I have mentioned that I believe that all of us are familiar with the idea that you can take a breath to calm down or to slow down. I believe that most of us understand that a breath can do those things. Well, I am thinking there are other studies and papers out there that talk about how breath can help with physical changes, but I recently made note of very small study done in 2001 by a group of professors and physicians in Italy. Their report concluded that “Rhythm formulas that involve breathing at six breaths per minute induce favourable psychological and possibly physiological effects.”

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The report mentions reciting Ave Maria in Latin, yoga chants, or the rosary. These recitations caused a rhythmic breathing that equaled six breaths per minute. And 10 second breaths or six breaths per minute were the key to a consistent heart rate variability and baroreflex sensitivity.

A consistent heart rate variability can be a sign of good health as could baroreflex sensitivity. The heart rate variability/HRV is “a measure of the variation in time between each heartbeat”1. The baroreflex is “(or baroreceptor reflex) is one of the body’s homeostatic mechanisms that helps to maintain blood pressure at nearly constant levels.”2

So, this is just another small confirmation that pranayamas can help counter the stress we all face every day.  The specific type of breathing that is consistent and rhythmic allowing for a ten second/6-breath-per-minute breath.  You could do a 4-1-4-1 Samavrtti type of pranayama, where you inhale for 4 seconds, hold for 1, exhale for 4, and hold for one.  That would total 10 seconds.  Or you could do that same type of count with the Ujjayi breath.

The report just acts as a guide to possibly help one decide on a length of breath.  Just another tool to help us in our yoga practice or our daily lives.

Do you ever find yourself taking a calming breath?  Do you ever use breathing techniques?  Is pranayama part of your yoga practice?

1-https://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/heart-rate-variability-new-way-track-well-2017112212789

2-https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Baroreflex

 

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Nose And Nose, Nose And Mouth

Posted by terrepruitt on July 16, 2013

A post or two ago I wrote about how breathing is good.  I mentioned that it is very common to hold your breathe while exercising and/or concentrating.  I shared that I was reminded of that recently by my husband (and Remo Williams). I briefly shared a few situations in which people might breath differently.  Of course, I had to mention Nia Sounding.  In my post What IS PiYo?, I mentioned yoga breathing and Pilates breathing.  Generally they are a bit different.

Simply put yoga breathing is done through the nose.  Both the inhale and the exhale.  Depending on what type of yoga you are doing, you may move as you inhale and exhale in a flow.  It is almost as if the breath can work as your metronome.  Or the flow is done where on certain moves you just inhale or exhale, timing your breath to your moves instead of your moves to your breath.  You can just breath normally and move through the poses as you want with no regard to the pace of your breath, but you still move with your breath.  As with most exercising the exhale is on the effort whether you are doing poses in a flow or at your own pace unrelated to your breathing pace.  While breath and breathing is related to movement in yoga, it does not always set the pace. In addition to the breath entering and exiting through the nose the breath affects the belly.  On the inhale it is the belly that expands.  On the exhale the belly compresses.  This is called diaphragmatic breathing.

To put Pilates breathing simply, it is done through both the nose and the mouth.  Inhaling through the nose and exhaling through the mouth.  And even though ALL breathing utilizes the diaphragm Pilates breathing expands the thoracic/chest area.  When I was first learning Pilates I was taught it was called “Back breathing”.  This name helped me to concentrate on the change in shape of my upper body and not pull the breath down into my belly.  As with yoga, breathing is a large part of Pilates and breath relates to movement, but the area of the body with which the breathing is done is different.

Both yoga and Pilates breathing are done fully and completely.  So whether the air is flowing into the lower part of lungs and you are allowing your belly to expand or whether the air is going into all of the “corners” and your chest is expanding it is a full breath.  I like to practice allowing all the air that my lungs can hold to enter, to the point where I know there is no more space, then exhaling completely, until I know there is no more air left in my lungs.  This expelling completely is done with either type of breathing practice.

So in general that is the difference between yoga breathing and Pilates breathing.  As you practice either yoga or Pilates there are many details that you will learn and experience but that is it in a nutshell.

As I said, I like to practice full and complete breathing.  In addition I like to practice BOTH types of breathing.  I think they each have different benefits.  I think it is very important — no matter which type of breathing you are doing — to make the breaths FULL and COMPLETE  – as much in as you can as much out as you can.

If you were to report on your breathing you are doing right now, which type would you say it more closely resembles?

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