Day 3: Sync up breath and body

Coordinate movement with your breath to really bring your poses to life. Learn how to pair breathing with different types of poses.
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yoga for anxiety, breathing

Happy National Yoga Month! Celebrate with us by rebooting your yoga routine for 21 days in September. To seal your home practice habit for life, sign up for YJ's upcoming 21-Day Yoga Challenge online course, crafted to cultivate lasting commitment. Plus, enter to be on the cover of an upcoming issue in 2016. Follow #YJChallenge on Facebook and Twitter for more inspiring tips each day.

Want to really bring your poses to life? Try to coordinate your movements with your breath. Here are three simple guidelines for pairing breath with types of poses.

Forward Bends

When bending forward, exhale. When you exhale, your lungs empty, making the torso more compact, so there’s more room to bring your upper and lower body together. The heart rate also slows on the exhalation, making it less activating than an inhalation and inducing a relaxation response—appealing in forward bends, which are typically quieting postures.

Chest Openers

When lifting or opening the chest, inhale. In a heart-opening backbend, for instance, you increase the space in your chest cavity, giving the lungs, rib cage, and diaphragm more room to fill with air. And heart rate speeds up on an inhalation, increasing alertness and pumping more blood to muscles.


When twisting, exhale. In twists, the inhalation accompanies the preparation phase of the pose (lengthening the spine, etc.), and the exhalation is paired with the twisting action. Posturally, that’s because as your lungs empty there’s more physical space available for your rib cage to rotate further.

See Day 4: Meditate on self-compassion

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