Tag Archives: breathing

The Neuroscience of Balance or: To Breathe is to Balance

Balance. We often take balance for granted when in fact, the simple act of standing is a complex physiological feat.  Let us explore.  In a very basic definition of balance 3 main physiological process are evident: Maintaining balance while standing in the stationary position relies on intact sensory pathways, sensorimotor integration centers and motor pathways.The main sensory inputs are: Joint position sense (proprioception), carried in the dorsal columns of the spinal cord; Vision Vestibular apparatus Crucially, the brain can obtain sufficient information to maintain balance if any two of the three systems are intact. Ok, if you read our blog Read more…

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How am I supposed to be breathing?!?!

In our last blog “‘Core’ training…are you doing it wrong???” we talked about intra-abdominal pressure as being necessary to “engage” your “core.” We also discussed the diaphragms two functions, breathing and posture, which are interrelated. In most cases, if you have good posture, your breath will come easily and if you have shitty posture, your breathing will suffer.  This applies to the reverse as well; difficulty breathing will affect the shape of the torso. Try slouching (if you aren’t already), take a deep breath. Now, sit up straight and take a deep breath. Astounding, right?  It should be no surprise Read more…

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How to Not Kill Yourself Using a Neti Pot or How to Bang Open Your 3rd Eye

So one morning, Melissa, like the good little yogini she is, decided to use her neti pot.  Using the neti pot is one of the 6 cleansing rituals or kriyas described in the complete yoga system (and probably that’s about as far as she’ll go with that.  Go ahead and read what the rest are.  Then you decide if you want go all the way).  Mel loves to neti.  As someone who suffers from allergies and sinus infections it can be a life saver! In goes the appropriate amount of non-iodized salt.  Believe it or not this can vary from Read more…

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Sadie Nardini and Leslie Kaminoff Talk Boosting the Immune

What a refreshing conversation about immune support in this short clip. Now is definitely the season in which everyone wants to stay strong and avoid colds/flu/general ickiness. But it’s also an emotionally and financially stressful (concentrated STRESS) time for many of us. How does that kind of stress challenge the immune system?  Leslie explains to Sadie -and us- that it’s important to know how we handle stress.  Also, can you say, “No!”  Leslie says you’ve gotta say, “no,” in order to say, “yes,” to what’s going on inside of you.  Genius!  Immune support (in this conversation) is about getting smarter Read more…

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Bad Yoga #10: I Must Make the Most of My Lung Capacity at All Times

While speaking with clients one of them asked, “Well shouldn’t I be taking advantage of my full lung capacity every time I breathe?” “Why?,” I (Mel) asked. “So that the oxygen can move all the way to my toes and fingers.” Alright, I get where people are coming from with this line of thinking.  It’s easy to enjoy taking big breaths especially when you’ve had a history of breathing difficulties.  Feels like a huge relief! So right after a client has a session there’s often this sense of, “I want to feel this good all the time.”  That’s not a Read more…

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Dudes and Yoga

Melissa was recently asked about men and what particular challenges they face in a yoga class.  Here’s some of what she said: Men are often used to moving—in society and in their bodies—in a way that requires force, strength and extreme muscular effort. It’s been my experience that I have to tell men all the time to stop trying so hard. Yoga is not to be practiced by pushing and muscling through the poses! No, seriously. Men tend to fall asleep in savasana in my classes more than women. Like, full-on snoring. This is probably the “most difficult” asana in general. Most people who lie Read more…

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Let Your Organs Support You

Tight shoulders, neck and upper back muscles are a common complaint amongst our clientele.  Often the request during a session is to massage the muscles in the hopes of loosening them.  This can help alleviate some of the tension in the moment and only temporarily.  Whatever deeper issue that underlies the tightness will continue unless changed, like a movement pattern. Often times hours after a massage, the muscles return to the “tight” state unless the underlying issue is addressed. Sometimes the muscles could feel tight in order to protect an unstable joint. Or maybe they are just negotiating gravity from Read more…

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Your Brain on Scary Emotions and Breath

Let’s explore a familiar situation: You’re in sukhasana (chair pose), a one-legged balance pose or even an intense-feeling forward bend.  There is sweat dripping,  muscles shaking and a struggle to keep focus. This is usually the part of the class where the yoga teacher calls out, “Remember to breathe!”  Ah, there it is.  The reminder to turn inward, find your center, overcome what feels in that moment overwhelming by remembering to breathe.  So deceptively simple; you do and it works.  By concentrating on your breath your focus is redirected away from bodily sensations associated with the difficulty of executing your Read more…

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Is Breath Asana: Amy Matthews and Leslie Kaminoff Discuss

  Oh how we looooooove when out teachers from the Breathing Project appear on video together.  Here they are discussing the differences (if there are any) between breath, yoga and asana.  Bask in the glow of their philosophizing.  Enjoy!

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How Do You Practice Off the Mat?

In one of our recent posts we described using the body’s physiology to your advantage during a challenging moment. The easiest way to apply and experience what was described is during a focused physical activity like yoga. But we want to know how you take your practice OFF the mat. Below are moments that could be of service to finding ways to do just that.  Feel free to share your own experiences of conscious awareness, clarity and becoming less reactive due to your yoga or movement practice: New Yorkers are challenged every day in the underground tunnels and overcrowded buses Read more…

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