Despite what we might see on Instagram, the true power of yoga doesn’t come from postures. Without breath awareness, yoga is mostly just a great form of physical fitness. Yoga’s big mental benefits – greater calm, more awareness and the ability to observe without reacting so quickly – come from the connection we make through breathing mindfully. In fact, just being still and observing our breath is a deep and powerful yoga practice all on its own.
If you’ve ever given it a try, you may have noticed that a mind not used to being mindful can be tricky to focus at first. That’s where practices like same breath breathing ("sama vritti pranayama" in Sanskrit, the ancient language of yoga) can help. If you’re feeling the need for calm, try this simple technique just for a few minutes to see how it changes things:
Close your eyes. Breathe in, and slowly count how long it takes for you to fill your lungs with air.
Breathe out, taking that same number of seconds to exhale completely.
That’s it. Super simple and super calming. This is also a great practice to teach children to use when their emotions are starting to get overwhelming. But be warned - soon enough, they will be reminding you to come to your breath when they notice that it might help you too!