Safe and Simple Breathing Techniques as Part of a Yoga Practice

Breathe Visualization

With the COVID-19 virus affecting our respiratory systems, I thought it might be nice to address some safe and simple breathing techniques that can be incorporated into a yoga practice.

One of the simplest things we can do ourselves, or teach our students, is to explore and be playful with the breath.  I like to teach what I call “house breathing”, a technique where you imagine that your torso is a house. You can start with a simple house, just four rooms, two in the front and two in the back. Allow the breath to come into just one or two rooms at a time. As you do so, feel if the room feels open and airy, or dark and dank. Does it feel more like a basement or attic, or the first floor rooms that are used more frequently? Does it need to be dusted and cleaned?

Expanding your Technique

Once you’ve played with the more simple idea of just four rooms, you can imagine the house having multiple levels, maybe two or three levels. For example, you might imagine the belly area is the basement, the lower ribcage is the first floor or main level, and the upper ribcage is the attic. Again, just two rooms in the front (per floor), and two rooms in the back, and again, explore and feel how easily the breath moves in each room by itself, and then try two or more rooms at a time.

This idea can be expanded to more floors, even an office building with a parking garage and multiple offices or rooms per floor.

This breath visualization will help keep the lungs, the diaphragm, and the other muscles that help us breathe working in ways they don’t ordinarily—so it’s like a stretch for your breath. Hope you enjoy.

The article was specially written by JJ Gormley for You Call This Yoga.