The Importance of Breathing:
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?
The fourth limb of ashatanga, is Pranayama, learning how to control and focus the life force (prana), our breath.
There is so much more to breathing than simply slowing down our body and mind.
There is a magic to our breath. 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?
I’ve been practicing yoga for years, but I still need to remind myself, the importance of taking, deep, full life enhancing breaths.
When I first started practicing yoga, I can remember thinking, “Wow, they spend a lot of time worrying about breathing.” During these times, I was distracted by this focus, I wanted the class to move on to the next asana.
Last week, when I began to reflect about the asanas, I actually began to think about how controlling my breathing helped develop the postures. Its amazing, how much my thinking has changed in the last few years, simply by feeling how powerful proper breathing is. However, I still need to remind myself to slow down and breathe.
Here’s what’s helped me, I no longer 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 knew 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
Yoga helps us to reconnect to this magical breath. Through using Pranayama breathing, you will learn 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
This week I’m going to try to reconnect to my natural breathing pattern. I’m going to forget about what my breath should look like. I’m going to forget about how long a proper breath should take. Instead I’m going to take the time to listen to my body and its own breath.
In my research journey, I came across this inspiring video that illustrates how by simply changing our breathe, we can change our perspectives in life. While watching it, I couldn’t help but slow my breath down, matching the rhythm of the video. I hope you as inspired by it as I was.
Here are my goals this week:
-To Pay attention to my body when it’s breathing
-Focus on moving the energetic breath through my body
-Paying attention of the movement of my breath
-Taking time throughout the day to simply be aware of my breath
I’m really looking forward to this week and remembering why the life force is so critical for each limb of yoga.