When I was going through my yoga certification program two years ago, one of the trainers began a lesson by stating, “The breath is my Guru.” I had absolutely NO idea what that meant. None.
Fortunately, the instructor went on to clarify what he meant. He discussed how our breathing tells us a lot about the state of our mind and body – it can tell us when there is ease, dis-ease, tension, anxiety, etc. But the part that fascinated me most was that, as he explained, we can learn to use the breath to affect our state of mind and body. In fact, that’s really the heart of the study of yoga: becoming tuned into our own body so that we can “read” it, determine what it needs, and then use the combination of movement and breath to deliver energy to those areas in need. A well rounded yoga practice is like an energetic tune up for the body. And, if we become adept at understanding the breath – how to “read” it and how to work with it – it can be an invaluable tool in maintaining/improving our health. (It can be our ‘Guru’…now it makes sense, right?)
One of the many ways that we can use the breath is to combat fatigue. Notice that I didn’t say, “to increase energy.” That’s because fatigue is usually not due to a lack of energy in the body, but more to the stagnation of energy. In order to energize the body, yogis believe that we must move energy from the lower chakras, where it tends to stagnate, to the upper chakras (For an in depth explanation of the chakra system, you’ll want to check out this post). This balances and stimulates all of the chakras/energy centers. When more energy is delivered to the upper chakras – the heart, throat and third eye points – we feel stimulated and “energized.”
There is one breath technique, in particular, which is super-effective at doing this. It’s called “Breath of Fire” and, as the name implies, it will fire you up!
Below is a short video, where I explain this technique in detail and model it for you. As stated in the video, you can start with 15-20seconds and work your way up to 1-3 minutes. I do it for one minute each morning (usually after I’ve meditated) and I’ve found it to be a great way to wake up the body, mind and spirit.
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