Saturday, July 28, 2012

Vinyasa Yoga

So there I am up in my Vinyasa Yoga class nearly knocked-out like a drunk rock – yet again; and simply had to ask my instructor, Michelle, how is it that I can go from 100mph to a pool of mouth drool in less than 5 minutes.  That’s when she hipped me to the incredible wonders of our parasympathetic nervous system. You see, our parasympathetic (relaxation) response is the opposite of our fight-or-flight stress response but our daily chaotic lives don’t allow us to tap into it. 

One of the most effective ways to elicit this relaxation response is to learn to breathe abdominally. Start by lying down on your back with your legs bent and your feet flat on the floor (Now this is the part that always causes me to get my Rip-Van-Winkle on in class). Put one hand on your chest and one hand on your stomach and inhale slowly allowing your abdomen to expand outward. It is helpful to imagine your stomach expanding like a balloon as you breathe in. When you breathe abdominally, consciously slow down your breathing, if not; you will almost be hyperventilating since you get 10x the amount of air in your lungs when breathing abdominally as compared to breathing from your chest.

After a few minutes of this; your body starts to respond, starts to relax--let that happen. In the beginning you may have the sensation that you are not getting enough air and feel compelled to take a deep upper chest breath like a "sigh." If you feel compelled to take a deep breath, it is an indication your normal mode of breathing may approximate hyperventilation. Don’t do it! With practice, this sensation will pass…

As I mention in my upcoming book, breathing from our abdomen is actually our natural method of breathing. If you ever watched young kids sleep you’ll notice how their little bellies go up-and-down during each breath.  Unfortunately, as we get older and more stressed; our breathing gets shallow and hinder our natural methods of relaxation.
So do me a favor, before you get in the bed tonight simply give it a try. And before you know it, you too will be out for the czzzzount.


Hack Van-Winkle

About the Author:
 James Hackley earned a B.S. degree in Physics from Longwood College and an M.S. degree in Engineering from the University of Virginia.  He faithfully attends Holy & Whole Life Changing Ministries International in Lansdowne, Va., and his latest book, Body, Mind & Spirit: The Awakening can be purchased by visiting him at ,, and

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