We saved the most dynamic breath for last. The Vitality Breath is a fantastic breath with which to start a yoga-with-weights workout. It sends energy to all parts of your body and makes you feel more alive.

Follow these steps to practice the Vitality Breath:

1. Stand upright with your feet spread wider than your hips and your toes pointing forward. Make sure your body weight is well-balanced between both legs.

2. While inhaling a Complete Breath through your nostrils to the count of four, extend your arms straight out in front of you, palms facing upward. This is the starting position. We explain the Complete Breath in the section “The Complete Breath” earlier in this chapter. Although you hold your arms in front of you, you should hold them in a relaxed manner.

3. Exhale slowly through your mouth or through pursed lips as you draw your hands toward your body along the sides of your rib cage and gradually contract the muscles of your arms and hands. By the time your arms and hands reach the sides of your body, contract your muscles so that your fists are clenched. Put some force into it. At this point, your fists should be tightly clenched and you should feel a driving force or sense of inner release as you exhale.

4. Relax your arms and hands as you deeply inhale, slowly unclench your fists, and return to the starting position (see Step 2). Imagine that you’re taking in this breath through your hands and heart.

Repeat Steps 2 through 4 six to eight times to complete six to eight Vitality Breaths.

Keep it going. If you like the way the Vitality Breath feels, do two sets of six to eight breaths. Listen to the sound you make as you exhale. The Vitality Breath is a commanding exercise. Don’t be shy about exploring this powerful, energy-enhancing breath, but if it doesn’t feel right to you, just stay with the Complete Breath.

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Categories: Yoga