Feel the Oscillating Breath

This is a wonderful way of bringing breath awareness into our asana practice. To find the oscillating breath, it is best to first experience it while we are lying on our back and then when we are familiar with it, we can take it into our asanas. In this way it will help us be strong, focused and relaxed.

Let’s try it:

  1. Lie down comfortably on your back, relax and take time to let your breath become natural and unforced. Be aware of the movement of your abdomen on the inward and outward breath. Notice how the lower back responds to the different phases of the breath. Did you find your lower back lifted away from the floor as you inhaled and flattened towards the floor as you exhaled?
  2. If not, exaggerate the movement so your lower back lifts as you press your tail bone into the floor on the inward breath, and flatten as you exhale and draw your abdomen back to the floor. Once you have established this exaggerated movement, gradually minimise the movement until you find the natural oscillation there.
  3. Now come into a Mountain pose with one hand on the navel and one hand just below the collar bone. Establish Complete Yoga Breathing and again begin to feel the oscillation of the spine. As you breathe in feeling the upper hand moving away from the lower hand, and as you do so be aware of your lower back arching. As you breathe out feel the lower back flattening as the rib cage drops back towards the navel. If you need to, exaggerate the movement to begin with.
  4. Now try the same exercise from a very relaxed Standing Forward Fold. Feel the movement of your upper body on the inhalation and exhalation. Did you feel your body moving away from your legs on you inward breath and coming closer on your outward? 
  5. If not, bend your knees and relax more. Try gently exaggerating the movement and then letting the body release into its own rhythm of movement.
  6. Now try to feel this oscillation through all your asanas. Practice your asanas in such a way that you are focusing on this aspect.


By Vrndavan Dasi
Founder and Principal of Veda Yoga Teacher Training