2 Yoga for health 2

3 by Marion Thornley 3

TIPS FOR A HEALTHY BREATH

To conclude this brief series of articles about stress and better breathing, I would like to give a few simple tips that you can incorporate into everyday life that will help you to breathe better.

First of all, give a few minutes thought to the clothes you are wearing.
– Do you wear trousers that pinch the waist, tight belts or other clothing that restricts the abdominal area? If so, this is hindering your ability to breathe fully and deeply.
– Do you wear ties or anything else tight around the neck? Again, this acts to restrict your breathing.
– High heels make you walk in an unnatural way, altering the alignment of your spine. This will impede the ability of the diaphragm to move fully, and could also give you back problems in the future. If you are addicted to those heels, try to minimise the amount of time you spend walking in them and slip on another pair of lower heels when you can.

– Try to remember not to hold the breath, and to breathe fully and deeply, using the abdomen, whenever possible. If you notice yourself holding the breath, consciously spend a few minutes breathing well.
– Sing! Even if its just a bit of tuneless singing in the shower, singing or chanting has immense benefits for the breath and thus our health and overall sense of well-being.
There are many more things I could write about the breath, but I feel I am at risk of being very boring!

As a yoga teacher I am often asked just what is yoga? I feel I often give an unsatisfactory answer to this question because its not something that can be answered in one sentence. So, I am going to devote the next few articles to this topic. If you read them, you may be surprised!

To give you a taster, I will explain the meaning of hatha yoga (hatha is pronounced ha-ta). I often see yoga classes advertised as hatha yoga but I suspect few understand what it actually means.

Ha is sanskrit for “sun” and tha means “moon”. These are symbolic of the opposing energies present in us all – yin and yang if you like. Feminine and masculine, energised and calm, and so on.

Yoga is the process that unifies this duality. Its not about placing your leg behind your head! Hatha yoga in particular means working on this process mainly by using physical postures.
More on this topic next month!
[(Marian teaches yoga in Ceret and is particularly interested in the use of yoga as a tool for health and healing. For more information contact Marian on [marianthornley@hotmail.co.uk->marianthornley@hotmail.co.uk ] or see her website at [www.maspallagourdi.com->www.maspallagourdi.com])]


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