Yoga: Relationship Between Depth And Effort

Force level breath (aka power breathing) is like injecting foam into a flat tire. It substitutes pressure (compression) for lack of (tensegrity) structure. Increasing the level of discipline and flow in our breath is like a radial tire, which adjusts air volume automatically appropriate to the needs of the terrain, vehicle, and driver. Its tensegrity is composed of springy steel and proportionate pressure.

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At the level of discipline, flow, and mastery, our perceived exertion (RPE) and the depth of breath volume are directly related: As exertion increases, greater volume must be released in order to stabilize the core. In other words, as our exertion increases we move from normal breath volume, to complementary breath volume, to supplementary breath volume at the greatest exertion. In yoga, this allows us to continue to go more deeply into a pose, to first find balance and then apply effort and then to persist.

It is a divine gift to have resistance level breath to protect us from basic life hazards. It is safer still to have the ability to become angry enough to take action against the imbalances we endure within us. However, with discipline, we can learn to allow flow to erupt spontaneously not just within the pose, and between poses, but throughout our lives.

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