Using your breath as your guide, try this new technique for slowing down your yoga practice.
How and when we breathe sets the pace for our practice.
The breath is essential to a yoga practice. In a typical asana class/practice, we may move with each component of the breath (inhaling into Upward Facing Dog and exhaling into Downward Facing Dog), and we may mindfully breathe as we hold a position (5 breaths in Warrior I). As you have experienced your breath within your own practice, you may have found that your breathing patterns affect you in different ways. For example, slowing down your breath may have a relaxing affect on the body and mind. And, focusing on your inhales may be more stimulating, while focusing on your exhales may be more calming.
So, if being more relaxed and calm is the intention behind your current yoga practice, then focusing on your exhales is a great place to start. But, what if you could do more than just focus on your exhales? What if your entire practice was built around the exhale? It's a simple concept but not one that we think about or employ often.
Here's how to do it:
1. Select a sequence of poses that you enjoy or just make it up on the go!
*A great sequence in which to experiment is the Sun Salutation.
2. Only move on your exhale.
3. Inhale in each pose and then move again on the exhale.
4. Extend your exhale as long as possible and make your movement match that length.
5. When you finish, sit or lie down and reflect on your experience. How did it make you feel?