We are all born knowing how to breathe correctly — it is not something that needs to be taught. Our very first instinct upon entering this world is to fill our lungs with life-sustaining air and let it flow through our body. Unfortunately, as we grow we learn to stoop our shoulders and contract our chest. This leads to improper and potentially dangerous methods of breathing. Our posture and the way we carry our bodies day after day inhibits our natural, correct way of taking in breath. You can remedy this situation once you learn about yoga breathing.
Authorities on the practice of yoga breathing tell us that if we would only return to breathing correctly — the way we were designed to do — it would be the rare person that contracted illness and disease. That is because the deep breathing that is fundamental to yoga helps sustain our physical health. But it goes even deeper than that. Our happiness, mental sharpness, self- control and even spirituality are tremendously enhanced once we understand the “Science of Breath”.
Pranayama — The Science of Breath Control
To fully learn about yoga breathing, it is important to have an understanding of the four stages of Pranayma. Pranayma is yoga breathing exercises that help our body maintain optimum health. There are four stages to this method of breath control.
Arambha is the stage where one first becomes aware of the desire and need for Pranayma.
The second stage is Ghata and occurs when causal, gross, and subtle sariras meet the soul.
Parichay is the stage where one begins to understand the knowledge and power of Pranayama.
The final stage is Nispatti, which is a union with the Supreme.
Why learn about yoga breathing?
The benefits of Pranayama
Though the benefits are numerous, here are 6 fundamental reasons to learn about yoga breathing.
1. You learn to breathe properly — slow and deep breathing that increases lung capacity.
2. Proper breathing improves digestion and metabolism.
3. Pranayama is a natural de-stressor — it leads to relaxation and harmony.
4. Correct breathing rids the body of harmful toxins that build up inside our bodies.
5. Because Pranayama requires focus and concentration, our willpower and self-discipline improves.
6. Pranayama allows for a more satisfying spiritual experience.
Learn about yoga breathing with Kapalabhati
Kapalanhati refers to cleansing breath. One benefit of Kapalanhati exercise is the removal of mucus from our airways.
It begins with breathing normally two times. As you inhale and exhale, pull in the abdominal muscles. Try to maintain a consistent rhythm as you go through 20 repetitions. The emphasis should be on exhaling after holding your breath for as long as possible.
This technique is one of the more basic exercises. You can learn about yoga breathing on a more advanced level as well but practice the advanced techniques only after adequate review or supervision. It is possible to injure yourself if you attempt to try them on your own.
After mastering just the basic exercises, you will quickly realize the benefits and want to learn more about yoga breathing for your spiritual, mental, and physical health.