How to improve your breath off the yoga mat


Use these off-the-mat tips to strengthen your breath, allowing you to create a deeper connection to your yoga practice.

If you struggle to synchronize your breath with your movement during Vinyasa Flow classes or to stay focused on the breath altogether, these simple tips can give you the confidence and skills to bring strong breath back to yoga.

Make time for meditation

Improves your ability to come back to the breath and maintain focus

One reason breathing can be challenging during yoga is that our minds wander. You remember something you forgot to do earlier in the day and suddenly your thoughts are elsewhere and your breathing becomes just as unfocused. Meditation can teach you to improve your ability to stay focused and to come back to your breath after getting distracted, which happens to even the most experienced yogis.

  • Explore breath sensing, the spaces between breaths and heart breathing as ways into stillness with James Reeves’ Prana Nidra class – 15 mins

Start running

Improves deep breath capacity and breath-to-movement connection

Learning to master your breath when running may help you find stronger breath on your yoga mat. The key when running is making time for deeper breaths while moving: “Deeper breaths, which incorporate the stomach as well as the lungs, decrease the stress placed on the ligaments that support the diaphragm by improving posture,” according to Breathing While Running: A Step-by-Step Guide.

Try simple Pranayama exercises

 ‘Supercharges’ the entire body and strengthens the whole range of your respiratory organs

There are many techniques that teach you how to use and control your breathing in different ways, from long, deep breath-holds to short and fast out breaths. Using various exercises to learn these techniques allows you to practice with a wide range of options that you can take to your mat. Not only will you improve your breath, but you’ll be able to cater your yogic breathing to your body’s needs on that particular day.

Take a breather

Helps you to ‘zoom out’ and brings you back to the present moment

Whether you take time to focus on your breath while lacing up your shoes, making a cup of tea or you find a quiet space to meditate for five minutes, punctuating your day with a few moments where you consciously take time to notice your breath will make a big difference to how you feel. This ‘breathing space’ also allows you to pause when your thoughts start to take over – whether a during asana class or in Savasana.

  • Try this Breath space exercise with George Langenberg – 5 mins


Text: Jessica Thiefels


Bio Esther Ekhart Engels