How many of us think about our breath on a daily basis? Unless you have some kind of breathing disorder like COPD, you probably do not think about your breath too often. It's automatic, natural and we do not have to think about it. However, our breath is the bridge between our mind, body and spirit. So, our breath is vitally important to our inner being. In a yoga class you typically hear the teacher reminding you to breathe through the poses and make sure you do not hold your breath. Sometimes, more detailed instruction such as when to inhale and when to exhale in a pose are used as well. We also have something called pranayama in yoga. This is breathing exercises you can do either while performing a yoga posture (asana) or after your asana practice while seated. Pranayama is very powerful. It affects our deeper structure, our organs, helps with anxiety, depression and can balance our entire system. Think about it, when we get all frazzled and really stressed - our breathing gets all out of whack and we breathe faster, shallower and we may start sweating etc... When we are relaxed, we tend to breathe slower and feel a sense of calm. Also, animals that live longer, take fewer breaths per minute than animals that have a shorter life span. Take an elephant vs. a dog, a dog pants and breathes faster than an elephant, the elephant takes much fewer breaths per minute and lives longer. To see a great blog on this topic click here.
The breath is of utmost importance in yoga. The breath is called our prana, our life force. Without it, we will die. There are no ifs ands or buts about that fact. Our breath is a gift from God.
The breath is very important in the Bible as well. Take this passage from the book of John:
Again Jesus said, "Peace be with you! As the Father has sent me, I am sending you." 22And with that he breathed on them and said, "Receive the Holy Spirit.
In the KJV of the Bible the word - breath - appears 42 times, breathe - appears 4 times, breathed - appears 4 times, breatheth - appears once, breathing - appears twice.
So, take a deep breath, relax and possibly live longer. Sounds nice, right?
Namaste and deeeeeeep, long, cleansing breaths to you all.