Most teachers I've been to instruct their students to breath deeply, fully and with sound (called ujjayi breath). That's the way I was taught and I breathed like that during my Yoga practice for many years.
I know some people love this way of breathing but, personally, the only thing it's given me is head spins - particularly while practising Surya Namaskar (the Sun Salute).
Only in the past few years did I come across a teacher who encourages the use of a soft, gentle breath. I tried it, and found that I was no longer dizzy during Yoga practice! And although it goes against what is generally taught in Yoga, I've found that soft breath has been extremely beneficial to me in my personal practice of Yoga.
I'm not saying you should do as I do, but if you find - as I did - that you get the dizzies when you use ujjayi breath while practising Yoga, you too might find that soft breathing is right for you. You'll only know if you try!
SAY NO TO PUPPY MILLS! SAY NO TO ANIMALS IN PETSHOPS! SAY NO TO BREEDERS!
Adopt a homeless animal instead - they all deserve a second chance
It's estimated that 130,000 dogs and 60,000 cats are killed every year in Australia because there are not enough homes for them all. And the global numbers amount to millions upon millions every single year.
Puppy mills are a major contributor to the terrible problem of overpopulation. Puppy mills are essentially 'dog factories' where dogs are forced to churn out litter after litter, with no thought for the welfare of the dogs and all thought for profit. The dogs live in appallingly dirty, cramped conditions all their lives, and when they no longer serve their purpose they're killed, dumped or sold to vivisection laboratories.
Petshops fit into the picture because puppy mills are generally where petshops get their animals from. Furthermore, having animals in shop windows encourages impulse purchases, and adding an animal to your family should be a conscious, careful decision - NOT one to be made while shoe shopping.
Breeders contribute enormously to the tragic statistics above too. And it doesn't matter whether they're professional breeders or backyard breeders, and whether they breed for profit or not, because while there are homeless animals sitting on death row in shelters, any and all animal breeding is utterly irresponsible.
Now, here's where you come in. You can either be part of the problem or part of the solution. You can either buy animals from puppy mills, petshops or breeders and be part of the problem. Or you can adopt from a shelter or rescue organisation and be part of the solution.
If I haven't convinced you, visit your local shelter to see the homeless animals. Let their innocent faces convince you that adopting is the only responsible choice to make.
All information and photos are copyright © Despina Rosales.