This post is for La La, who asked:
Is the breath really so important?
Yes, it is.
Dear La La,
In Ashtanga yoga and all the yoga styles that are descendants of it (you mentioned flow yoga) the breath is important, most important.
I'd go so far to say the conscious using of the breath makes yoga to what it is.
- With the help of the glotis you can make a sound when you inhale and exhale. Listen to the sound and your practice becomes to a concentrated practice.
- Adjust the movements to the breath. It's also a concentration exercise.
You mentioned that you have difficulties to do the asanas when you breathe.
Sometimes I realize in classes that yoginis exhale and they should inhale. This makes an asana difficult if not impossible. Example: When doing garbha pindasana and when you role backwards, you make your body small. This must be done with an exhaling. When you come up you must inhale. The breath helps you to come up. Some do it the other way round and then they wonder why they cannot come up and balance.
If you have an issue with an asana check your breath.
- Stretching and inhaling belong together.
- Bowing forward, going deeper in a pose happens easily with and exhaling.
The breath is a help if done correctly, not a fancy thing or a chicanery.
There is a pause between inhaling and exhaling. Don't hurry. Separate the different movements with this pause. I usually think: pause.
After this pause I initiate the next movement with inhaling or exhaling. The breath is a bit earlier than the movement. This too makes a practice easier if you're sensitive enough to feel it. This comes after years.
Also take care that inhaling is as long as exhaling. Just for fun, measure it with your watch.
Yep, the breath is very important........