Peter from the Vedanta Centre shares his views about breath work coupled with yoga
If we look at this from the yoga viewpoint, we know that breathing is important, prana(life force energy) is mobilized in the body through conscious breathing.
It would be fair to say that my yoga classes are known for putting a lot of emphasis on the breathing. I am also a Vipassana meditator which is a form of mindful meditation that also puts a lot of emphasis on watching the natural breath.
After attending my first breath work session I was blown away. Even after 10 years of basing a large part of what I do personally and professionally on breathing, breath work took it to another dimension. What I want to add is, after attending several sessions, I have started to realise its use and purpose. I now know when I need to have a session. I have started to incorporate breath work sessions into my personal practise, just as I do with yoga. I have noticed the strong correlation between yoga and breath work. What would take days to achieve with hip opening and specific breathing in an asana class can be achieved in one 40 minute breath work session. Breath work is far more effective at releasing emotions. By releasing emotions you also form a barrier to storing them in the body. This is done by suppressing our needs/emotions. For me this is very important.I am now becoming more aware of when I am about to automatically suppress my emotions and I am learning to deal with life’s situations are they arise so that my fundamental needs as met, without suppression and guilt. Simply put breath work makes you more conscious and present!
The Ujjayi breathing that is one of the more known breathing techniques in yoga and extensively practised in ashtanga vinyasa yoga helps to generate heat and intensity in the body coupled with a vigorous ashtanga practised more closely resembles a breath work session, although it is obviously different. Hip opening asanas have the effect of releasing emotions so have a similar aim to breath work.
When does one know that they need a breath work session?
It’s quite simple, if you wake up in the morning feeling discontent, unhappy or disturbed then you probably need a session. If you feel out of sorts and disturbed sometimes it might be due to a specific issue/event in your life or it’s also quite possible that you may not know why you feel like you do.