As a yoga beginner it is vital you learn how to breathe correctly when you start yoga. Learning how to breathe properly forms one of the five core principles of yoga. The other principles are Proper exercise (yoga); proper diet (a diet which has a positive effect on the body and mind and causes the least negative effects on the environment and other animals.) Proper relaxation and Positive thinking and meditation.
Breathing is an involuntarily bodily function, which we take for granted. Unfortunately, many people do not know how to breathe properly and lose a valuable opportunity to easily improve their health and vitality. In yoga, the breath is seen as the link between the mind and body. It is this connection between the body-breath-mind which makes yoga such a beneficial and rewarding experience.
When you learn yoga you are taught how to breathe properly. This encourages to become aware of your breath and to use your breath to bring harmony, balance and calm to the mind and body. Poor respiratory habits can lead to the build up of tension in your body, waste products have trouble been effectively eliminated, viruses and bacteria find it easier to stay in your body due to the lack of sufficient oxygen from not breathing properly.
Benefits of Correct Breathing
In yoga you are encouraged to place greater emphasis on the out breath. When you breathe correctly you promote a rich gaseous exchange in the body as you inhale rich oxygenated air and exhale carbon dioxide; plants and other vegetation take in the carbon dioxide and release oxygen. When you exhale completely you eliminate more amounts of stale air and allow a deeper inhalation, thus making more oxygen available to nourish the cells and promote cell rejuvenation. On a physical level, proper breathing helps to boost your energy, reduces tiredness and relieves tension and stress in your body. Emotionally, taking full deep breaths calms and clears the mind, improves focus and concentration. Have you noticed how better you feel when you stop and take a deep breath when you feel overwhelmed or stressed?
How to Breathe Correctly – Three Part Yogic Breath
In essence, the golden key to full and proper yogic breathing is to breath out properly before you breathe in. Have you ever watched a baby breathe and see how slowly and deeply they inhale and exhale. Most people hold their breath when anxious or stressed, this makes it harder for your body to respond and adapt. The more aware you are of your breath, the easier it becomes for you to learn how to use your breath to calm, balance or energise your mind-body.
The breath can be divided into three parts -inhalation, exhalation and retention. Your respiratory system runs from your nose to your lungs, the back of your throat, through your larynx (voice box), trachea (windpipe) and into the bronchial tubes and lungs. as you breathe in and out you bring oxygen into the body and exhale, eliminate waste matters and toxins from your mind and body. When you inhale and hold your breath (retention), you build up pressure in your lungs which means more carbon dioxide pass from your blood into your lungs; which is released as your exhale.
Learning how to breathe fully and correctly in each phrase/part of the breathing process enables you to gain a deeper connection and awareness of your body. Which forms the foundation of your yoga practice.