Breathing on cue

4 posts in this topic

Hey everybody,


How important is it to breathe as the instructor tells you? I find that most of the time my body *wants* to breathe the opposite of what I'm instructed to do. The most prominent example I can give is cat/cow pose....whenever they tell you to inhale on cow and exhale on cat, I really have to fight to follow instructions and keep from breathing the opposite direction. Should I keep breathing as told or do what comes naturally?

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Cat/cow is a great example of how the breath works with the pose. For the cow, the inhale allows you to open up the chest and lift the heart, and for the cat the exhale allows you to pull in the abdominals (locks/bandhas) and arch your back. If you have these the opposite way around then you won't be getting the full benefit of the asanas.

My advice is to try and follow the breathing instructions as the breath will assist the pose.

KristiSmithYoga and PaulaH like this

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Ditto what the other folks have said.


This may or may no apply to your situation, but it's the first thing that came to mind...


As an instructor, I have to explain how to do things while also cueing the breath. This can throw off the rhythm for the class because my rhythmic breathing went out the window once I started talking. As I finish explaining what to do and tell you to inhale as you transition to cow, you may be thrown off because your breathing rhythm tells you that it's really time to exhale. In other words, maybe the issue is less about how to connect the breath to cat/cow and more about your natural breath cycle being interrupted.


There really isn't a great way to work around this that I know of, unfortunately.


My suggestion to you would be to try moving through the poses at home - the way you've been taught in class - to find that rhythm. When you are ready to inhale, move into cow, and when you are ready to exhale, move into cat...see if that helps. As others have said, poses that open the chest (even slightly) should be initiated by an inhale, and those that compress or reduce it should be initiated by an exhale.

Robbie likes this

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