Hatha Yoga: Cautions To Be Judiciousand Respectful Of Breathing Exercises Abound In The Literature On Hatha Yoga.

Hatha Yoga: Cautions To Be Judiciousand Respectful Of Breathing Exercises Abound In The Literature On Hatha Yoga.


Comments on breathing exercises

"Cautions to be judicious and respectful of breathing exercises abound in the literature on Hatha yoga. And it does indeed seem from anecdotal reports of explorers in this field that the rhythm and record of our respiration resonates throughout the body. It seems to accentuate whatever is in the mind, whether it be benevolence, or malevolence, harmony or disharmony, virtue or vice. On the negative side, experienced teachers report that quirkiness of any sort, gets accentuated in students who go too far. β€˜It might be an abusive streak, laughing inappropriately, speaking rudely, flightiness, twitchiness, or nervous tics. Right to left physical imbalances also become exaggerated. Unfortunately, novices often close their ears to warnings; having become addicted to their practice, they will not be denied. Competent teachers of Hatha yoga will be watchful of these simple matters and wary of tutoring refractory students. Even the beginning exercises discussed in this chapter should be treated with respect.

Apart from psychological concerns, the special physiological hazards of breathing exercises is that they can cause problems without giving us traditional signals warning us against doing something harmful. In athletics, the practice of asana, experiments with diet, or just tinkering with any subject in the physical world, we depend on our senses to tell us that we are exceeding our capacity or doing something inadvisable. But breathing exercises are different. In that realm we are dealing with phenomena that our senses,  or at least our untutored senses, are often unable to pick up, even though they can still affect the body. And because of this, advanced exercises should be undertaken only by those who are adequately prepared.” 

-H. David Coulter, Anatomy of Hatha Yoga

Coulter told me on the phone that he had contracted Parkinson's. I have learned that Parkinson's has a definite breathing component. His chapter on breathing is clearly SNS dominant.  

"Hatha Yogic Breathing techniques "yoke" or connect the conscious mind to the primal instinctive regions of the brainstem" Ray Long MD, Scientific Keys, Volume 1; The Key Muscles of Hatha Yoga.

From Mike: The key in my mind is how does one discern whether the "connection" Dr. Long refers to avoiding the pitfalls outlined in Coulter's above comments.  I point out avoiding the pitfalls in Coulter's chapter on breathing. 
My suggestion is to properly develop your breathing.

Leave a comment

Please note, comments must be approved before they are published