Kundalini yoga classes are one of the best ways to learn powerful breathing techniques for better health. Breathing is free! That’s one of our favorite things about it. All yoga classes teach you how to breathe in a more conscious and mindful way. But kundalini yoga classes integrate a large variety of pranayama (breath control) techniques that will increase your breathing power.
Most yoga classes teach students to deep, steady nose breathing. The rhythm and flow of the breath is a great indicator of someone’s mental and physiological state in any given moment. Under any type of stress the breath is rapid and shallow. When the system is calm, the breath is slow, deep and steady.
Hatha and vinyasa yoga classes teach students to breathe through the nose so that it’s easier to control. They also teach students how to maintain a steady and deep rhythm throughout different physical exercises. Wether you are performing a difficult or easy posture or series of postures, the breath must stay within your control, through the nose and a slow pace.
There is tremendous benefit in steady, deep, conscious nose breathing and you’ll learn this in almost any yoga class. Kundalini yoga classes also teach students how to consistently breathe deeply through the nose. However they also introduce many other ways of breathing. The following are just a few of the different breathing exercises you’ll find in our online kundalini classes:
Three Powerful Breathing Exercises From Kundalini Yoga Classes
Rapid Rhythm Breathing
There are many instances where a kundalini teacher will lead you through a simple breath to movement exercise at a much quicker pace that in other yoga classes, For example in cat/cow, the pace is rapid yet the breath is still through the nose. The breath becomes much more audible, like a very loud sniff in and out. The lower belly becomes more actively involved. With each exhale the belly is pulled in and up to force the breath out of the lunge. At first this way of breathing can feel difficult to keep up with. But once you master it, you can use this style of breathing to energize the body in a quick and efficient way.
Give this class with our resident Kundalini expert, Sheel a try. Flow through several kundalini warm-ups and kriyas utilizing rapid rhythm breathing.
Breath of Fire
Breath of fire is casually practiced in asthanga and vinyasa classes. However you will do it throughout most kundalini yoga classes, sometimes for up to 3 or more minutes at a time. You will become extremely proficient in breath of fire if you consistently practice our online kundalini classes. Breath of fire is even more rapid than the exercise described above and it doesn’t match perfectly with a specified movement. It is often done holding a specific pose or layered over a specific movement.
Breath of fire is a fast in and out breath with a strong pump of the navel. First, breathe long and deep so connect with the breath. Second, quicken the pace of the breath while continuing to equally emphasize both the inhale and exhale. Many teachers mistakenly teach to just focus on the exhale. This will eventually cause dizziness and discomfort and cannot be sustained for very long. The inhale is just as forceful as the exhale. Finally, the breath becomes short but full bursts of breath and the belly bounces in and out with the rhythm of the breath. The navel pops out with the inhale and sucks back in with the exhale. Once you become proficient in breath of fire, the movement of the belly becomes automatic.
Breath of fire is very powerful style and teaches you supreme control over the breath. It is very energizing and helps to lift the denser, more heavy energy that resides in our lower three chakras. While chakra talk may sound “woowoo” to you, the symbolism is easy to connect to our anatomy and physiology. Our pelvis and core is our center of gravity and houses most of our internal organs. It is the hardest part of the body to lift off of the gourd because of its heaviness and density. Breath of fire pulls that density up towards the heart, essentially “lightening the load” of our core. It’s one of those things that you have to feel to understand.
So give this summer solstice class a try to feel the magic of breath of fire along with some beautiful intention setting meditations.
Alternate Nostril Variations
Kundalini yoga classes teach different versions of alternate nostril breathing, or nadi sodhana. Alternate nostril breathing is when you place a finger over one nostril and inhale or exhale through the opposite one. Sometimes you switch, sometimes you will focus on just one side of the nose. Kundalini believes that each nostril is the doorway into the specific energy channels, or nadis, of our subtle anatomy.
Kundalini teachers will share alternate nostril breathing exercises that will also ask students to inhale, hold the breath in and out, and exhale for set lengths of time. Occasionally you many even do breath of fire through just one nostril. Practicing all of these different variations of Nadi sodhana increases your breathing capacity and teaches you how to focus intently on the breath. Develop powerful mastery over the mind by switching sides of the nose, counting inhales and exhales and maintaining long holds at the top and bottom of the breath. Become so absorbed in the tasks at hand, that there is no room for our usual cycle of thoughts.
Master the Breath with Kundalini Yoga Classes
Kundalini yoga classes are one of the best ways you can teach yourself how to breathe in a way that can greatly improve your health on all levels. All yoga classes will teach you how to do this, however Kundalini yoga classes do so with unique and powerful techniques.
You may feel that you already know how to breathe, and of course you do. However, yoga and pranayama help you to mater the breath. Call on the inhale and exhale at any time and find a calmer, more peaceful state. Become more aware of your breath through kundalini pranayama techniques so that you are able to shift the mental and emotional state in any situation.
Give our kundalini yoga classes a try! You’ve got nothing to lose and so much to gain. Sign up and get your first two weeks free. After that, it’s only $18/month. Set an easily attainable goal such as try one new class a week. Sprinkle in a few slow flow and vinyasa classes and you’ll have everything you need for a healthy body and calm mind.
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