Breathing and Attention: The Keys to a Good Yoga Pose

In order to have a good yoga practice, it is essential to focus on breathing and mindfulness, while focusing on the present moment.
Breathing and Attention: The Keys to a Good Yoga Pose
Carlos Fabián Avila

Reviewed and approved by Doctor Carlos Fabián Avila.

Written by Solimar Cedeño

Last update: 09 October, 2022

Yogic breathing is fundamental for the practice of yoga because it will help concentration and improvement in the techniques for each posture. Thus, breathing and attention are the keys to a good yoga pose.

Breathing exercises significantly improve the cardiorespiratory system at rest. When a deep exhalation is performed, more oxygen reaches our lungs and is then distributed to all the organs of the body.

Posture and breathing in yoga

The starting pose for breathing is to sit cross-legged and remain still for the duration of your practice. The seated positions allow you to sit comfortably for long periods of time and relax the body.

There’s also the art and practice of hatha yoga, which consists of meditating and strengthening the spirit. This modality of yoga focuses its practice on the mind, leaving aside the body and aspects of physical strength. It seeks to help a person to learn to control the mind and detach from the thoughts that often destabilize us.

Breathing and attention will allow you to achieve a good yoga pose. Breathe, be mindful and take your time in each yoga practice. Breathing correctly will both improve your technique as a yogi and prevent injury.

Breathing and attention: Yogic breathing

Yoga practice requires full yogic breathing because you breathe as you inhale and fill your rib cage. In yoga you inhale and exhale through the nose, because with this technique more air will enter the lungs.

Yogic breathing consists of the integration of three fundamental aspects in a wide and rhythmic movement: the abdominal, costal and clavicular breaths, as indicated by professionals such as Josep Gustems, professor at the University of Barcelona:

  • Abdominal breathing occurs when the diaphragm descends during inspiration and the abdomen swells. This causes a constant smooth movement of the diaphragm, favoring the proper functioning of the organs.
  • Costal breathing is the one where the ribs are separated, and the thoracic cavity is dilated.
  • Clavicular breathing is the one given by the lifting of the clavicles, in which all the air is introduced passively.

Good breathing allows you to achieve concentration and relax the body to prepare it for the moment of performing the poses. If you’re a beginner to the practice of yoga, yogic breathing will be complex and you may feel strange doing it at first, because your lungs are not used to receiving such high loads of oxygen.

It’s common to feel dizziness or some weakness when you start with yogic breathing because your body generates resistance to so much air. However, with practice, you will improve and notice the changes when performing the poses.

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Balance and equilibrium

One of the main benefits of breathing correctly in the practice of yoga is that you will improve your  balance and strength in your rib cage. There are balance poses that require great focus, power, and endurance.

Breathing allows balance poses to develop poise, agility, coordination and improves concentration. Balance is developed by getting oxygen to the lungs and brain.

It’s also achieved by tightening the abdomen and this can only be done by maintaining an abdominal breath, because the strength of the muscle helps maintain the body’s balance. Although balance is a skill of every yogi, it can be further developed with optimal breathing.

For flexibility and resistance postures, breathing and attention are fundamental. They keep the mind alert and focused to withstand the effort.

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Breathing and attention: Concentration in practice

Breathing and attention

Breathing oxygenates the brain and allows neurons to have an optimal process. This brain oxygenation helps concentration.

Yogic breathing benefits relaxation and inner peace, because it places the body in a state of tranquility where the blood flows and the body processes work without external pressures. Breathing can be accompanied by meditation, but that will depend on the type of yoga you would like to practice.

In meditation, the spirit is separated from the body and the breath soothes the mind. Living in peace and enjoying the present is part of the practice of yoga, because it helps to prevent negative thoughts from invading your mind.

If you decide to practice yoga, remember that breathing and attention are essential for the execution of the poses. Breathing in yoga fills the soul with energy and strengthens you. So, take a deep breath and enjoy yoga!

All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.

  • Brown, R. P., & Gerbarg, P. L. (2009). Yoga breathing, meditation, and longevity. In Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences.
  • Gilbert, C. (1999). Yoga and breathing. Journal of Bodywork and Movement Therapies.
  • Desai, R., Tailor, A., & Bhatt, T. (2015). Effects of yoga on brain waves and structural activation: A review. Complementary Therapies in Clinical Practice.
  • Khanna, S., & Greeson, J. M. (2013). A narrative review of yoga and mindfulness as complementary therapies for addiction. Complementary Therapies in Medicine.
  • Uebelacker, L. A., Epstein-Lubow, G., Gaudiano, B. A., Tremont, G., Battle, C. L., & Miller, I. W. (2010). Hatha yoga for depression: critical review of the evidence for efficacy, plausible mechanisms of action, and directions for future research. Journal of Psychiatric Practice®, 16(1), 22-33.
  • Gustems Carnicer, J. (2007). La respiración en el canto.

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.