… especially if, like me, your teacher is fond of throwing around some Sanskrit names, peppering in some philosophy, biomechanics and kinesiology – or psychology, sociology and quantum physics – yoga integrates all of these things!
So if you’re in a yoga class and you lose awareness of your breath don’t worry, it’s completely normal, but when you remember, come back to it. It’s pretty magical and its effects on the body and mind are scientifically documented. In yoga, we call this “breathwork” pranayama.
Normal v Yogic Breath
If you’re a singer, athlete or asthmatic, you may already have a relationship with Deep Breathing but usually we have quite a shallow breath which doesn’t fill the lungs entirely. We can change this by continuing to inhale more deeply – letting the ribcage and belly expand as the diaphragm draws down, inflating the lungs to their maximum. A full exhalation removes not just this extra air taken from our deeper breath in but also residual air left in the lungs. This can be achieved by contracting the abdomen slightly at the end of the exhalation and squeezing more air out than usual. The next deep inhalation can now be bigger! Through this Deep Breathing we can create enough space to take in up to seven times more breath. Breath is Life.
Benefits of deep, conscious breathing include:
- Increased endurance
- Better digestion
- Strengthened immune system
- Detoxification of the body
- Mental clarity
- Pain management/reduction
- Massage for the internal organs
- Improved posture
- Stronger heart and lungs
- Increased energy levels
Just 5 minutes of Deep Breathing a day – or even just 5 deep breaths – can make a huge difference. Try it for yourself and see!