Just breathe. How many times do we hear that phrase in a typical yoga class? How many times do we hear that in our lives? Our society, has linked breathing to relaxation. But there is so much more to breathing than simply slowing down our body and mind.
Our breath has the ability to heal, to improve our immune system, to aid our sleep and to promote life.
What has happened to our breathing?
For beginning yoga students, it may seem that we spend a lot of time and energy on breathing. And the truth is we do. However, don’t think of breathing as a simple automatic action. Because unfortunately, for the majority of us, it no longer is.
As a young infant, we unconsciously know how to breathe. Newborns take the time to breathe with their entire body. They recognize that without breath there is no life. There is a focus to this action. Spend some time watching over a baby and observe their breathing. Watch how their abdomen gently rises and falls.
Somewhere along the road we forget this once natural action. Stop right now and watch your own breathing pattern. Are you taking full breaths? According to Alive Magazine, the majority of us, use only a small portion, approximately 35% of our lungs. Our breath becomes narrowed and stunted instead of embracing this natural oxygenating, healing energy.
Taking full, complete oxygenating breaths can:
- Decrease Anxiety
- Relieve pain
- Relieve allergies
- Increase productivity
- Live a more energized, aware, life
- Improve beta wave activity: increasing concentration and focus
- Increase immunity
In yoga, we help individuals reconnect to this magical breath. Through using Pranayama breathing, we will teach you how to deepen your breath into your abdomen and to relax these muscles. You will learn how breath is power and energy. You will learn to embrace the beneficial oxygen that is held in your breath and take the time to bring it into your body.
Beginning to Breathe
The key to yogic breathing, is to reconnect to our natural breathing pattern. Forget about what your breath should look like. Forget about how long a proper breath should take. Instead take the time to listen to your body and its own breath.
Pay attention to your body when you are breathing. When you inhale do you feel the energy moving through your body? Or does it stop at a certain point? Try to get that breath to move throughout your body. Allow your lungs to fill up and watch the movement in your chest.
When you exhale, are you able to get rid of the toxic energy in your body? Or are you only exhaling a portion of your breath? Take the time, to learn your own breathing powers.
When do you begin to feel focused? You will know when you are taking full yogic breaths, when you feel the changes in your own body. Listen to these powerful changes and try to involve this magical breath several times during the day.