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A breath of fresh air - the art of holistic breathing

dreamstime_l_15740593.jpgAs humans, we can survive for short periods of time without food and water, but breathing is a must-do function for all of us if we want to continue living.

We may all breathe, but do we breathe well? Take a few seconds to observe your natural breathing pattern. Do you breathe through your nose? Is your breath deep, slow and long?
Do you inhale and expand your chest and abdomen? For most of us, the answer is probably "no".

From a yogic point of view, breathing correctly is of supreme importance. Doing so helps us lead a life virtually free of stress and disease. The benefits of good breathing include:

  • Adequately supplying oxygen to vital organs, which is essential for the efficient functioning of the brain, nerves, glands and internal organs. An improper supply of oxygen causes, degeneration of vital organs, mental sluggishness, negative thoughts and depression, and eventually affects vision and hearing.

  • Naturally expelling waste products and toxins from our body.

  • Rejuvenating the skin and preventing premature ageing.

  • Improving lung capacity, thereby relieving respiratory problems.

  • Producing internal heat through specific yogic breathing exercises to increase metabolism, improve digestive function and burn fat.

  • Cooling the body with other yogic breathing techniques to maintain body temperature during summer.

  • Preventing the entry of pathogens and dust into our respiratory passages by breathing through the nose.

shutterstock_27366433.jpgBreathing correctly when we exercise is especially important. At the gym, in an aerobics class or while walking or running, our attention is usually on the music, TV or our instructor, but not on our breath. Although there are many benefits of exercising like this, in the long run we might be depriving our muscles and organs of the extra oxygen they need, leading to reduced lung capacity, lethargy and muscle spasms. In yoga, great emphasis is placed on maintaining the postures with correct breathing. This allows your body and mind to relax and stretch to the maximum without feeling as tired.

Try turning your attention to breathing better in your daily life and when you exercise - you might be pleasantly surprised by the results. Breath is life, and good breath is good life.