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When can I use throat control breathing?

· Anytime when anxious or stressed.

· When moving through postures or when holding them to support the body.

· Whenever you need a calming moment.


How do I do throat control breathing?

1. Get comfortable and settled. Relax your body but don’t slump!


2. Breathe through your nostrils until your breathing settles.


3. When ready, breathe out making a quiet ‘ha’ sound with your mouth open and then

breathe in through your nose. Repeat a few times, until your breathing becomes

smooth and steady.


4. Now close your mouth and breathe out with the ‘ha’ sound. The sound gets quieter in

your throat. Carry on breathing in through your nose as normal. Notice the soft gentle

tightening of your throat as your breath leaves your nose.


5. Once you feel happy breathing at step 2, practise until the sound becomes very quiet.

Aim to make the softest sound in your throat as you breathe out. A sound only you can

hear. This happens with practise. Repeat a few times until your throat control breathing is

smooth and steady again.


6. When you are happy with step 3, try to keep the soft and gentle tightening of your throat

as you breathe in too. Repeat a few times until your throat control breathing is smooth

and steady.



7. Now try throat control breathing while raising your arm. This develops your breathing.

Breath in, take your arms up and breath out bring your arms back down. Repeat a few

times.


8. Returning to stillness, relax your arms, and repeat a few rounds of throat control

breathing. Notice how you feel. Return to your normal breathing. Again, notice how you

feel.

Important practice note

If you feel hot, dizzy, or light-headed during this practice, notice how you are doing it. Are you being a bit too forceful with the throat tightening? Try a gentler and softer ‘ha’. If you still feel uncomfortable, stop practising and get advice.

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  • Kath Gibbons

Why all the attention on the breath in yoga practice?

You've turned up to yoga class, to relax and do gentle exercises. But the teacher keeps going on about breathing all the time! What's that all about? You live! You breathe! Yet, you live, most of the time, without being conscious that breathing happens. So, you breathe without having to think about it, then why mention the breath at all, and tell you when and how to breathe?

· Attention to your breath and engagement with your breath can:


o soothe and clear your scattered and chattering mind

o be a tool for conscious living

o offer opportunities to centre and ground yourself

o support your body

o support your body in movement

o support your health

o have the capacity to improve your health

o boost or balance your energy levels

o support you through life's ups and downs

No doubt there is more to add to the list!

Breathing is integral to all aspects of yourself. It is important for the function of your:


· physical body

· intellect

· emotions

· mind

· energy levels


For example, your physical body needs you to breathe for all your body’s systems to work in a stable and smooth way. This includes cardiovascular, digestive, nervous and musculoskeletal systems.

Focus and engage when breathing, then you exert an influence on any aspect of yourself. Please know that these effects have the potential to be positive or negative. They can create harmony or disharmony. Worry not though! There are many reasons to focus on breath in practice, and you can avoid undesirable effects.

Your focus when breathing makes your practice complete. It will help create harmony and stability. The states of body, breath and mind mirror each other:

· the state of your body affects your breath and mind

· the state of your breath affects your body and the mind

· the state of your mind affects your body and the breath

If you focus on yourself, you will see this in action. With your mind calm and quiet, your breath and body reflect the same. But, at times you might find one or more of these feels stressed and disturbed. You work on your breathing to calm your mind. You can’t concentrate, because your body feels too stiff or too restless. This distracts your mind further. You find it difficult to focus on calm breathing. Move your body with care and in harmony with your breathing. You feel less stiff and restless. Your breathing becomes more stable, and you are well on the way to feeling calmer in your mind.

Important practice note

The practices of yoga involve focused breathing. They give you many tools to help you ride the waves of life with greater ease, resolve and courage. Choose a stable practice. Be stable within that practice. Live a more stable and empowered life. The yoga practices are suggestions. Try them, learn them, practise them. Adapt, or modify them as your circumstances, needs and wants dictate.

In future articles... how to do the practices (that’s the good stuff!), possible effects and guidelines for practice.

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