When was the last time you stopped to take a deep breath, the kind of breath that fills your lungs and then carries away your stress in a long exhale?
Like a heartbeat, breathing is integral to our well-being, but it is not something we stop to think about or remember.
The breath carries oxygen and nutrients throughout the body, and removes impurities from our blood and organs for excretion as we exhale.
Breathing problems such as asthma and emphysema can have a significant health impact, but how often do we think about breathing when we are healthy?
In fact, there are numerous benefits to be had from practicing conscious breathing.
In the yoga world, this is known as pranayama, or “life-breath-extension.”
The thought behind pranayama is that by learning to extend and channel the breath, we use the body’s natural power to heal itself.
The short term benefits of yoga breathing practice are relaxation, improved focus and detoxification of the body.
The long term benefits can include such important goals as lowering blood pressure, improving sleep patterns, encouraging weight loss and improving metabolic rate.
Yes, you read that right..
By improving our manner of breathing, we combat the negative effects of stress and the chaotic lifestyles imposed on us by this hectic world.