Breathing is an unconscious and automatic part of living, so what does it mean when we are instructed to breathe consciously during a yoga class. During our lives, we grow to rely on the automatic act of breathing. Non-conscious breathing can lead to shallow breaths. Over time our body may not be drawing in as much oxygen as we have the potential to. When we breathe consciously, we mentally concentrate on the breath. We can see altar how we draw the breath in and out, improving the effectiveness of the action. The benefits of improving our breath can be many, on and off the Yoga mat.
Yoga and Breath: What’s the Connection.
If you have attended a yoga studio, you will have heard phrases such as ” Breath into your belly,” “Slow and deepen your breath.” Breath Consciously” and “Breath in and elongate.” Why is there such a focus on our breath in Yoga? Yoga is the act of joining the body and mind as one. Bringing your mind to focus on breathing can help you ignore a chattering mind and concentrate and relax simultaneously. Breathing is as much about the physical act of drawing in breath and exhaling with purpose as it is bringing your mind to this moment and leaving the outside world behind.
The physical benefits of breathing with purpose during Yoga are many:
- Breathing while holding a position gives your mind something to concentrate on, allowing you to hold the position longer and with more purpose than if you were concentrating on the slight wobble or a feeling of being out of your comfort zone.
- Exhaling deeply while holding a position, for example, downward dog, can, with a small amount of experience, allow you to deepen and strengthen the core while maintaining little to no movement.
- Taking deliberate and conscious breaths also assists in oxygenating the body, giving you a physical and mental boost of energy.
Lastly, breathing deliberately assists balance. Concentrating on the breath distracts from the slightly unbalanced feeling we may have in a challenging Asana and brings us back to a calm and controlled physical position rather than allowing the wobble to take control.
Your mental state can control your Method of breathing. Ever noticed when you are stressed or afraid, you breathe rapidly and shallowly. In just the same way, our Method of breathing can affect our mental state. Ever felt angry and been advised to go and take a breath. The reason for this is that your heart may be pounding, your breath will be shallow and fast, taking a few deep breaths will lead you to calm down and ACT on a situation with a clear mind, NOT react and later have regrets.
The breathing you learn brings your mind from most fight or flights states to a state of calm and clarity. You learn control of your mental state by the simple act of breathing. On the mat, it will assist you in leaving your outside worries behind and living in the moment, which is a skill that can give you a better life outside of the yoga studio.
How Yoga Breath Helps Off the Mat.
The breathing techniques you may learn in Yoga can assist you in any area of your life outside of Yoga. Most people that start to practice Yoga find that they start to live calmer, happier, and less stressed lives. The ability to pause, calm, and problem-solve in stressful situations can lead to a peaceful, productive, and happier life overall, assist with anxiety attacks, and compound stress over time.
How has yoga breath improved your life?