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I teach a lot of beginner yoga classes and I have found that starting from the basics and easing students into breathing techniques and actively relaxing is the best way to introduce the practice. Yogic breathing is the healthy and natural way of breathing that gives a sense of wellbeing and aliveness! Students find this an easy way to begin focusing on their breath and learning to “switch the mind off” - which in turn allows them to experience true relaxation - as well as feel the benefits of correct breathing.
Instructions for Yogic Breathing
1. Lie flat on your back and place one hand on your abdomen and the other on your chest. Close your eyes and mouth.
2. Inhale, and feel your hand rise as your breath fills up your abdomen. As you exhale, your hand lowers and the abdomen contracts. (Practice this for a few rounds).
3. Now let go of the abdominal breathing for a moment and focus on the chest. Inhale, feel your hand rise and breathe into the chest, filling the lungs with air. Exhale and expel all air completely. (Practice this for a few rounds).
4. Now combine the abdominal and chest to practice Yogic Breathing. Inhale and fill the abdomen with breath, follow the breath up to the chest filling the lungs with air. Hold briefly. Exhale, breathe out all air by rolling down to the abdomen. Yogic breathing feels rhythmic and wavelike.
Continue the cycle of Yogic Breathing for 1-5 minutes.