We’re starting our little series called “Those odd things we say and do” with an intention to, using simple and less weird terms, demystify and explain some things yoga teachers say, or tell you to do, during yoga class. Trust us, most of the stuff we say is for good reason, but we also know that some things, especially to those who just started yoga, sound really weird, or don’t make much sense at all. We know this because we’ve been there too!;)
Weird thing we say and do #1
“Inhale through your nose, exhale through your mouth with aahhhhh sound”
On almost every yoga class in Sangha, we’ll ask you to do this a few times during the practice. And we know that in the beginning you mind might be asking yourself why? (we also know that later you love it!;) But, don’t worry, we’ll explain why.
As you can see on this cute illustration by journey to wellness, this is a relaxing, releasing, rescue breath. Exalting through the mouth can help release tension and stress from the body, it relaxes the jaw, shoulders and diaphragm, which all hold so much tension. This is nothing unfamiliar and nothing more than a conscious, and perhaps a bit exaggerated sigh. We naturally sigh when we’re releasing stress or expressing an emotion like sadness, grief, anger or relief. Long exhales trigger parasympathetic system which slows the heat rate and relaxes the whole system. (we’ll tell you more about sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous systems and why it’s important to learn how to relax, in another post.)
Also, it’s for a reason we’re starting with this one. October 10th marked World Anxiety Day. Yes, anxiety disorders have become so common, that they need their own day. Learning how to relax can be a key to our mental and physical health, and we can start simply with - exhaling through the mouth.
Try it right know. Close your eyes, inhale slowly through the nose, and take a long exhale through the mouth Aaaaaaahhhhhhhh. Stay with the end of an exhale for a second or two, and repeat three times. Observe how you feel after doing this. Of course, you’ll notice more of a difference when you’re more under emotional or physical stress, so make sure you try it then too.