Did you know that there is an entire limb of the 8-limbed yoga practice dedicated to the breath? Pranayama is limb #4 and literally means breath control. When we engage in the physical practice of yoga, we typically marry our movements to our breath. We inhale as we raise our arms over head to stand tall, for example, and exhale as we fold forward over our legs. We also engage in ujjayi breath, a pranayama technique that entails breathing in through the nose and out through the nose, with a slight constriction in the back of the throat as we breathe out. But regulating our breath is not just limited to what we do in the asana (physical) practice of yoga. As a limb onto itself, it also stands alone.
Regulating our breathing patterns is a quick and surefire way to boost our mood and energize our bodies. Here is a super easy breathing exercise you can do anytime – including in the middle of your workday, while driving, or while making dinner.
The 4-7-8 Breath
Inhale to a count of four. Hold the breath for a count of seven. Go ahead and count it out silently. Then exhale to a count of eight. Repeat two more times.
Feel the difference!