Practice Breath of Joy with music for the ultimate uplift!
Breath of Joy is an energetic, uplifting, active breath practice. It comes from the Kripalu tradition and employs a 3-part breathing technique that is synchronized with arm and body movements. It's a great practice in the morning, during that mid-day slump, or any time you need to re-energize!
Benefits of Breath of Joy:
Awakens and energizes your whole system
Increases oxygen levels in the bloodstream
Calms the mind
Decreases anxiety and depression
Helps circulate prana/energy/chi throughout the body
Builds a gentle heat
Brings a feeling of balance
As with any breath, asana, or exercise practice, be sure to know/listen to your body. This practice may not be appropriate for everyone. Avoid or take precautions if you have:
High blood pressure
Head or eye injury (migraines, glaucoma, etc.)
Severe back issues
How to Practice Breath of Joy:
Stand with feet shoulder-width apart, knees slightly bent.
Begin inhale in 3 parts.
Inhale 1/3 of lung capacity as you bring your arms in front of you, palms up.
Inhale to 2/3 of lung capacity as you swing your arms out from your shoulders.
Inhale to full capacity as you bring your arms overhead, palms facing each other.
Take a big sighing exhale (audible HA) as you dive into a forward fold, swinging your arms down and back behind you.
Repeat. Most sources recommend repeating 9 times.
When finished, stand in stillness and allow the benefits of the practice to be absorbed.
Now, for the fun!
This definitely steers away from tradition, but if you like music & moving to music, you'll love playing with this variation of Breath of Joy. This exceeds the suggested nine times, but there are breaks in between. My favorite part is from 3:37-5:10. There is a slight pause at the top of the last part of the inhale and then the big whooshing exhale is even that much sweeter.
0:00 - 1:13 Stand in Mountain Pose and Breathe
1:13 - 3:00 Breath of Joy at your pace
3:00 - 3:37 Stand in Mountain Pose and Breathe
3:37 - 5:10 Breath of Joy to Beat of Music
5:10 - 5:48 Stand in Mountain Pose and Breathe
This is the timeline that I like to use when practicing Breath of Joy to Light me Up; however, I encourage you to play with it, make it your own, be joyful in your expression of the practice, feel all the love and light!
Scottie Bruch (ERYT500, RCYT, YACEP) has been teaching yoga in the Black Hills and surrounding area since 2009 and founded Sturgis Yoga in 2011. She received her yoga teacher certification through her mentor, JJ Gormley of Surya Chandra Healing Yoga School, and her Storytime Yoga teaching certificate through Sydney Solis.