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Yoga Question?

QueenMaa2010-07-05 04:09:22 +0000 #1
I have a question. I have a yoga book and it starts you out with the breathing exercises. My mom also has a yoga book but in hers they have the breathing exercises at the end of the book. Should you start out with the breathing exercises first?
Hubert2010-07-05 04:22:09 +0000 #2
Breathing exercises should commence after mastering at least a few postures. Mastering a posture means that you can maintain it without any effort in order to move on to breathing execises or meditation.

Still, yoga should be viewed as an 8 step system. First two are Yama and Niyama. These recommend a moral conduct and forbid certain types of behaviour. Than follows Hatha Yoga, the yoga of the physical body or postures, called asanas. After Hatha Yoga comes Pranayama, the control of prana, or the subtle life energies. This is done through controlling breath, but it is more than just breathing exercises. The focus is not on breathing but the hidden forces what makes us breeth, or live. Doing this can be very dangerous, especially if you did not manage to gain sufficient self control during the first three steps.

The later steps are different levels of meditation, but this is beyond the scope of this answer.
InnerAthlete2010-07-05 04:27:01 +0000 #3
It would be more helpful to me, in crafting a reply, to know what books and what breathing.

Shall we assume you are just interested in doing the physical practice?

If that is the case and you are just beginning, then it would be appropriate to learn some rudimentaries. This would include Surya Namaskar, some standing poses, a few forward bends, a basic inversion like Adho Mukha Svanasana (down dog) and perhaps some simple seated twists.

Students in some schools of yoga thought should not progress with breath work beyond Ujjayi or Viloma for perhaps ten years.

Other schools of thought seem to feel that you should have done breath work yesterday. the nuances of this "philosophical" difference is too long to go into in this thread.

And for clarification - the yamas are not constructed to "forbid" certain behaviors. Those would be commandments. In fact just the opposite. The yamas advocate behavior: the behaviors of compassion (or love), truth, having only that which is yours, wise use of sexual energy, and not coveting. Many refer to them as "restraints" but this is not the only interpretation.
deZengo2010-07-05 04:23:22 +0000 #4
Namaste'

When I started doing Yoga I was not sure exactly what to expect nor did I have a clue how far it would take me. Breathing is always a very important part of yoga and / or meditation. I do not think you can have one without the other -- but there are times when focusing on the breath is exactly what is desired. For those times I suggest:

Vinyasa Flow Yoga Sessions DVD Set by Gaiam - www.gaiam.com/retail/product/90-9026

There are many ways to successfully incorporate breathing into your Yoga practice. Let me take this moment to emphasize again the importance of controlling your breathing -- taking long, slow, deep breaths does incredibly wonderful positive things for the body.

Blessings and peace with your journey.
justwannabe2010-07-05 05:44:48 +0000 #5
in my very limited experience, opening the breath is essential. If you do not open/free the breath then it will be very hard to do your poses. With a closed breath your yoga will not be very enjoyable and there will be a lot of strain rather then freedom.
Nani2010-07-05 05:19:43 +0000 #6
According to Patanjali's yoga sutras one should master the asanas first, before starting to do Pranayama (breathing exercises). This is quite a statement, this could take years; or life times !

I have chosen to focus primarly on asanas first. They are a good preparation for breathing exercises: They strengthen the body especially the postural muscles along the spine and they lengthen your intercostal muscles, so that you create room for your breath to expand.
InnerAthlete2010-07-05 05:15:22 +0000 #7
Some additional thoughts if I may.

Breath and pranayama are non synonymous. That is to say breathing is very important and is literally life supporting. Not breathing will not only make your asanas difficult but also walking, driving, and generally living. There should however be a distinction between breathing, even if it's deep breathing, and Pranayama. Pranayama is a directed gathering of life force through breath alterations, changes, and fluxuations (control).

relative to the Sutras....

I see in II-28 there's reference to the eight limbs. And in the eight limbs pranayama falls logistically after Yama, Niyama, and Asana.

Then in II-46 "Asana is a steady, comfortable posture". And in a following sutra there is an interpretation stating that once you have acquired that posture then control the breath.

Patanjali only mentions asana once. One time in the entire sutras. And that mention is to basically say sit still and be comfortable. One could take this to mean do pranayama after you can sit still in Sukhasana. AAnd on a larger look it could be a reference to maturity of age where once you have matured enough to sit still then you may begin the pranayama practice.

Adn if that'ss not enough, can we only go by the sutras without heeding the Gita, the Pradipika, and the Vedas?

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