Breathwork and Chapasana

Deep Core Work for Greater Opening

heart opener

BREATHWORK AND CHAPASANA

It’s pretty well understood that the way we utilize our breath in our yoga practice will affect our experience. We also can’t escape the fact that this understanding leads to how we breathe off of our yoga mats. Quite frankly though, it doesn’t mean that it will be an improved experience. There may be an expectation that if we integrate various breathwork practices consistently, then we will see improvement. Even if we do see improvement, there’s always room to grow. We can learn more, and we can even take action, but how much of a deep dive are we willing to take? This is why we are fortunate to have teachers like Matt who go deeper into the mechanics of breath. In today’s video, he demonstrates how to actually strengthen the deepest core layer of our abdominals (the transverse abdominis, or TVA) via breathwork and a pose called Chapasana.

Yoga for Core and Breathwork

BREATH OF FIRE

  • Moderate Vinyasa-style classes
  • Core strengthening & integration
  • Master your breath with pranayama practices
  • Access your core in arm balances, heart openers, twists, forward folds, inversions, and more
  • Learn where and how to breathe in challenging postures
  • Each class will include one pranayama (breathwork practice) and several core strengtheners
  • Access your core muscles: deep, superficial, anterior, posterior, and lateral 
  • 12 Classes: All levels appropriate
  • Lifetime unlimited access to all
  • Attend the livestream OR practice the replays any time that’s convenient for you

$148.00

WHAT IS BREATHWORK?

First, let’s gain a clearer understanding of breathwork. In simpler terms, breathwork encompasses a variety of breathing techniques that may involve pace, rhythm, and/or specific patterns where the inhales and exhales vary. We may also encounter the word pranayama, which is the Sanskrit term for breathwork. More deeply, pranayama is also one of the 8 limbs of yoga from Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras. Discussions surrounding pranayama may include energy flow and/or energy management for body and mind. As we go deeper, we begin to learn that it’s imperative to spend time on strengthening the muscles that are involved with the mechanics of breath to actualize the positive outcomes we desire. These positive outcomes may include more ease and greater capacity of breath.

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BREATHWORK & CHAPASANA: DEEP CORE WORK FOR GREATER OPENING

THE MECHANICS OF BREATH

In a recent live video from Matt’s Instagram page, he thoroughly breaks down the mechanics of breathing. This is what I’m referring to when I say that Matt goes beyond simply teaching a technique. What we actually receive is why and how the mechanics of breath are vital to our yoga practice. Within the context of Chapasana, we not only learn how to strengthen the TVA with a “diaphragmatic breathing” technique, but we also gain insight into how to stretch the more superficial core muscles (rectus abdominis), allowing for increased space for breath capacity and opening within the backbend itself. All of this translates into how it also connects with our extremities (through its impact on the serratus anterior and scapulae) for greater shoulder mobility in the posture. Examining breathwork and Chapasana as a unit helps us grasp the importance of breathwork in any posture.

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CORE CONNECTION THROUGH BREATH

In the video, Matt demonstrates a diaphragmatic breathing technique. The technique lays the foundation for Chapasana in that we need to have the ability to engage the TVA at specific points during the execution of the pose. Engaging the TVA within the context of breathwork means that we are pulling the belly back during a forceful exhale. In the live video I previously mentioned, Matt explains that during the exhalation process, a pressure is created within the torso by the squeezing in of the ribcage, intercostal muscles, and TVA. The air is forced out of the lungs in the process, which involves the diaphragm relaxing, expanding, and returning to its dome-like shape at the base of the ribcage.

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CHAPASANA

Practicing the breath technique from today’s video in repetitive rounds is what helps to strengthen the core and muscles involved in respiration.

How is this relevant in Chapasana? Even though there is less focus on the backbend today, it’s almost impossible not to achieve greater opening. First, Matt creates a softening on an inhale for greater expansion in the front body. What’s simply incredible though is that you’ll see that expansion multiplied with the exhale and action of engaging the TVA. He pulls his belly back and up, which drives the ribcage out to the sides and up towards his shoulders. That’s the link to the extremities. This expansion leads to further spreading of the serratus anterior, creating more movement in the scapula and ultimately a better reach to grab the foot. It’s unbelievable to witness the transformation, all from the catalyst of the breath. 

The Breath Of Fire Immersion starts this Friday.  You won’t want to miss this opportunity to deepen your relationship to your core and the impact it has on the rest of your body.

See you on the mat!  

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Article by Trish Curling

Video Extracted From: Strength Immersion

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Yoga for Core and Breathwork

BREATH OF FIRE

  • Moderate Vinyasa-style classes
  • Core strengthening & integration
  • Master your breath with pranayama practices
  • Access your core in arm balances, heart openers, twists, forward folds, inversions, and more
  • Learn where and how to breathe in challenging postures
  • Each class will include one pranayama (breathwork practice) and several core strengtheners
  • Access your core muscles: deep, superficial, anterior, posterior, and lateral 
  • 12 Classes: All levels appropriate
  • Lifetime unlimited access to all
  • Attend the livestream OR practice the replays any time that’s convenient for you

$148.00

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