Why is the breath so important in Yoga?

A lot of people who come to my yoga classes for the first time don’t even realise that part of yoga is about breath control also known in Sanskrit as Pranayama. So why is the breath so important? As we all know we cannot survive without oxygen, around 2 minutes without it and we have passed into the spirit realm! Oxygen is delivered around the body through our blood. So that means if you have cardiovascular or Respiratory problems the oxygen is not being delivered around the body as it should be. For example low blood pressure or asthma. So once Oxygen enters the blood stream, it sends a fresh supply to the brain, and the brain uses nerve signals to control the organs and muscles! Without Muscles we cannot move! So this is why the breath is so important.

When we breathe we breathe unconsciously so we don’t have to consciously think “oh I must take my next breath now”, it just automatically happens, which is controlled part of the autonomic nervous system. However sometimes the breath can become shallow and we do not use the full capacity of our lungs, especially if we do not get enough exercise and if we are stressed or anxious. This can lead to ailments.

So what can you do once the breath is shallow? You can take conscious control over your breath. There are many different pranayama techniques in yoga each one used for different ailments. Some are energising some are calming and soothing. Also the first step to developing self awareness is taking your focus towards the breath, it makes you notice whats going on inside rather always being focused on the external. Also controlling the breath can help many ailments, and lets not forget that cancer hates oxygen!!

I will be posting some pranayama techniques and their benefits at some point.

OM Shanti


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