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Breath: the foundation of yoga and life!

Our life begins with an inhale and ends on an exhale. Our breath is our life force. We do it every day, unconsciously and automatically. In yoga, breathing is a crucial subject. In this blog we will tell you why.


Yoga Breath  


Everyone can do yoga, because everyone breathes. Breathing is an important aspect of yoga as it focuses on becoming aware of your body, it helps you to feel more present, and encourages you to tune inwards. By consciously focusing on your breath, you can control it, controlling the length and pace of your inhalations and exhalations.


You might have heard of the term ‘pranayama’ before. It is the Sanskrit word for breathing: prana means life energy and ayama means to extend, draw out. Pranayama is about controlling your life force, by controlling your breath. If you become consciously aware of your breathing, you feel the life force running through your body.


The way you breathe has an impact on your mood. Breathing slowly can help you to calm down. With slow and steady breaths, you influence your central nervous system in such a way that it enhances your parasympathetic nervous system. Your heart rate goes down and your blood pressure drops. Your parasympathetic nervous system helps you to relax, rest, and digest.


Breathing at a fast pace can help you fire up your body and lift up your mood. With fiery, steady breaths, you impact the other part of the nervous system: the sympathetic nervous system. The opposite happens when you focus on fast breathing: your heart rate goes up and your blood pressure rises. You are preparing your body for action as your breath builds up fire in your body. 


Breathing Meditation 


Consciously breathing can also help you support yourself mentally. Focusing on your inhale and exhale during discomfort can help you endure the current situation you are in. Whether it is physically or mentally uncomfortable, focusing on the breath helps you to stay present, concentrated, and grounded. By staying aware of your own life force in every situation you are in, you help balance your parasympathetic and sympathetic nervous system. This can be helpful in guiding yourself through an uncomfortable situation.


To Breathe is to Live 


Even without attending a yoga class, you can practice yoga every moment of the day. Simply take a moment to focus on your breathing. Observe the pace, the steadiness, and which parts of your body move as you breathe. Do you feel your chest and/or belly rising? Can you extend your inhale and exhale? Are your inhale and exhale equal in length: are you being circular in your breathing?


We encourage you to try to focus on your breath whenever something in life turns up unexpectedly. Just remember:  the breath is the way.

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