One of my most valuable yoga lessons came from a beginner class, where the instructor said to all the First-Time Yogis, “When I hear people say, ‘I can’t do yoga,’ I respond by asking, ‘Can you breathe? Then you can do yoga.'”
The Psychologist Belisa Vranich says the same for meditation. She calls breathing “meditation for those who can’t meditate.”
This New York Times piece simplifies the yogic principle of Pranayama, or breath control, offering a guide to “controlled breathing” that is as complicated as: “Take a deep breath, expanding your belly. Pause. Exhale slowly to the count of five. Repeat four times.”
The article goes on to outline the many scientific findings that confirm what yogis have been teaching for centuries, namely that breathing can “reduce stress, increase alertness and boost your immune system.”
Read on and try the three additional practices outlined in the article: Coherent breathing, Rock and Roll Breathing for stress relief, and energizing “HA” breathing.
Let us know in the comments how you feel afterward!