Do you ever look back at certain times in your life and wonder how the hell you made it through? During and in the years immediately following college I dealt with terrible anxiety. I've written about it here before, and lately a few people have been requesting yoga for stress and better breathing. The two go hand in hand, and so when I sat down to create this post I pulled practices from my own personal experience. And that's when I had that moment of half-disbelief, wondering how I made it out on the other side of that brutal time feeling (somewhat) "normal" (what is normal?).
If you're going through something similar, or are needing some help with improved breathing for other reasons (improved breathing can help athletes), the above poses and video below might be helpful.
Strengthen the body for better breathing
The foundation for improved breathing is fixing posture. A lot of us are hunched over with rounded shoulders and weak abdominals. This doesn't do us any favors, so I chose these poses above to strengthen the torso and open up the chest. Click below to learn more about each pose, and how they can improve your breathing.
1. Side plank variation (this is pulled from a core strengthening sequence)
2. Dancer's pose (a favorite pose that stretches the whole body)
3. Dolphin pose (great for opening up the chest, which gives more space for the lungs to expand)
4. Upward plank pose (opens the shoulders)
5. Camel pose (opens up the entire front body)
In addition, the tips from this video I made on how to breathe better should be helpful. After giving some basic tips for improved breathing, I teach two pranayama techniques here (the yogic three part breath, and nadi sodhana).