The word ‘yoga’ means to ‘yoke’ or ‘unite’. By uniting movement and breath, we really start to see how the benefits our yoga practice can spill into our daily lives. Breathing properly improves our health, increases energy, reduces stress and greatly improves sporting performance.
Why? Because bringing the correct amount of oxygen in, and releasing the right amount of carbon dioxide back out, detoxifies our bodies and nourishes our organs, particularly the brain – raising energy levels and bringing clarity and calmness to the mind.
Oxygen is at the root of our life force and energy levels – our bodies need oxygen over anything else and our modern lifestyles – seated, often slouched, working at computers, crammed on trains and buses, driving cars – restrict our lungs, and with it the amount of oxygen we consume. We end up breathing shallowly and often in quick short bursts.
Through the practice of Pranayama, the yogic art of controlling your breath, we can start to bring a conscious improvement to our breathing, and with it a myriad of benefits – energy, calmness, good health being just a few.
By building awareness of how to expand the lungs and improve posture we can start to breathe properly off the yoga mat as well as on it.
The Eight Limbs of Yoga – the basic principles of a yoga practice, one of which is breathwork, known as Pranayama
The Importance of Breathing – some further information about the science of breathing and yoga