yoga instructorBy Sangeetha Saran

Whether you have just finished your third yoga certification course, or are a new student, breathing is an integral part of a well-rounded practice. It helps with circulation and relaxation, it helps you go deeper into a pose and it helps you hold poses longer. Competent Yoga instructors constantly remind students to pay attention to their breath. In a world where most everyone takes breathing for granted, a yoga class is a place where you can slow down, breathe deeply and focus on your body for a while.

Breath Stimulates the Body

Most people breathe short, shallow breaths that bring in just enough oxygen to stay alive. While this is adequate, it certainly doesn’t do the act of breathing any justice. When you concentrate on the breath by pulling the air in slowly through your nose, filling up the belly, chest and lungs, that air can do amazing things. It improves the blood circulation to all of the body’s organs. The blood stream becomes purified, ridding the body of toxins. We become less anxious, fearful or occupied with unimportant thoughts.

Breath Frees the Mind

As you become more and more focused on your breath, you become less focused on negative thoughts or emotions running through your consciousness. Those types of thoughts and feelings generally cause stress over time, which shows up in other areas of the body. When we release them, they are gone and we begin to have a better attitude and feel better physically.

Breath Improves Asana

When you focus on breath during yoga class, you are less likely to become distracted. This inward focus allows you to block out any outside stimuli, noises and thoughts. It provides a way for you to become tuned-in to your body. When you focus in this way, you are better able to respond to each yoga asana. You might be able to hold each pose a little longer because you aren’t counting the seconds until the next pose. You might be able to push deeper into the stretch on each exhale as your muscles become heated and supple.

Breath Provides Good Flow

As you become experienced in your yoga training, you will be able to flow more smoothly in and out of poses. With that comes the natural need to synchronize your breathing with your movements. This results in a smooth flow of body and breath that over time will become as natural to you as shallow breathing once was. As you continue to implement breathing into yoga sessions, it will also become more natural to breathe more deeply and deliberately during daily life.

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