Most people have been breathing since they were born, and probably feel like they pretty much know what they are doing. So I really do understand the confusion when yoga starts making such a big fuss about “learning to breathe” and using the “breath” word. I get it. Before starting yoga, the only time I used the word breath was following “bad” or “can’t catch my”.
Turns out though, breathing is really important (aside from keeping us alive, that is). Learning to breathe like a yogi can help lower your stress and teach you to walk through life like a Zen master (or at least avoid finding yourself the catalyst of an embarrassing and expensive road rage incident). Along the way your breathing will expand, becoming longer and deeper, bringing more oxygen to your lungs and your brain. Your heart beat slows down and your whole system sort of turns into a long-haired California surfer dude. Pretty cool, huh?
So if you want to vastly improve your life, get to a yoga class right away. But meanwhile, just to tide you over, here’s a simple way to start getting this “breath” business working for you:
First off, start by paying attention to the fact that you are breathing, inhaling and exhaling. Notice what happens when you inhale and what happens when you exhale. Is there any movement in your chest, belly, ribs, back? Keep focusing on your breathing and its effects on your body for 6-8 rounds.
And that’s it! Try it out when you’re stressed. You can close your eyes if you feel like it, but only as long as you’re not driving.
Now you’re ready to dive deep into the joys of yoga breathing. Hope to see you there.