Best resources for breathing and pranayama?
July 8, 2012 5:01 AM   Subscribe

What are the best resources to learn breathing and pranayama? More details inside

I was reading some articles about breathing and pranayama, and realized that most adults including me, either breath totally wrong, or breathe very shallow (people who exercise are much better).

Can anyone suggest good resources to learn proper breathing and pranayama? Specifically techniques that a total novice can understand, learn and measure his/her improvements? I saw a couple of books by BKS, but they seem too technical, at least for a beginner. I don't need to learn the ins and outs of respiratory system, just enough to know what I am doing wrong and correct it.
posted by raghuram to Health & Fitness (3 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Get an instructor, it is a bit tricky if you do it wrong, specially the prayanama.. Iyengar's book, light on yoga is great. If you ever travel you can go to Mumbai, India where they have the oldest yoga school.
posted by pakora1 at 8:24 AM on July 8, 2012

I have zero expertise on the matter, but I enjoyed The Breathing Book.
posted by callmejay at 11:57 AM on July 8, 2012

I hate to be that person, but yes, if you want to practice pranayama, you really ought to do it with an instructor. You won't die if you do it wrong, but it's hard to learn from a book and you could potentially cause some harm to yourself, especially if you are doing the more complicated stuff like practicing mula bandha and retention. Some yoga studios will incorporate pranayama into regular yoga classes - typically Iyengar classes, though you'll find it in Jivamukti and some others as well. Some may offer classes specific to pranayama, but more typically it's incorporated into a broader asana class.

As far as just learning to breathe properly - that isn't the same as pranayama. Pranayama is the practice of controlling the breath in various ways. What sorts of trouble are you having? Yoga will help your breathing as it will help you focus it, concentrate on it, and you will soon be able to take deeper, fuller breaths, even in strenuous positions. Good breathing also has a lot to do with posture, etc., which the yoga will also help you address.

If you have a specific problem, you may want to just talk to your GP about it first.
posted by Lutoslawski at 12:41 PM on July 9, 2012

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