Updated: Feb 10, 2021
Everyday we breathe in and breathe out without giving it too much thought. It is so natural, so unconscious and we couldn’t think of any reason why breathing is so important. We were breathing the moment we were born. After so many years, you might feel odd why someone has to teach me how to breathe!
Gain control of your life
I often share in my class that there are a lot of things in this world that we cannot control. However, the thing that we can take control of is our breath. This is the power and the gifts that everyone has been offered when we came to this world, and often we just forget or do not even realize that this is our gift.
photo from snappa
The breathing (inhale & exhale) is the concept of a life force and it was found in many ancient cultures. In India, it is called Prana; in Japan, Ki and in Traditional Chinese Medicine, Qi. They all believed the breath is the life force and the ultimate measurement of one’s vitality. Please observe yourself, when you are sad or tired, how’s your breath? When you are happy or excited, how’s your breath?
A strong life force makes a human being totally alive, alert and present. Conversely, a weak force results in sluggishness, fatigue, and can even lead to illness.
As we are aware of our breath it’s related to our emotions and life energy, however, how can we take control of it, in order to calm our emotions and restore the energy?
There are many pranayama (breathing practices) in yoga. Today I am going to show you one that I found very useful and easy to remember and everyone can practice everyday at home - coherent breathing technique.
As a beginner, my recommendation is to start with inhaling for 4 seconds, and exhaling for 4 seconds. Then increase to inhale for 5 and exhale for 5, finally try to reach inhale for 6 seconds and exhale for 6 seconds.
In other words, we breathe evenly for 4 seconds, and exhale evenly for 4 seconds. In between, there is no need to hold the breath. Just breathe smoothly in and out. However, please sit with your spine straight to form the energy of your chakra. It is also recommended to practice before going to bed. You may place one hand on your belly, the other on your heart, to feel the rhythm of your breath.
Breathing anatomy & nervous system
Each time when we inhale, our diaphragm moves down and decreases pressure on the heart and lungs and increases pressure on abdominal organs. Each time we exhale, the diaphragm moves up and increases pressure on the heart and lungs, and decreases pressure on abdominal organs. This increased blood flow throughout the body. Ultimately circulation and blood flow are a function of the central nervous system which carefully monitors our biological status. When we are breathing “coherently”, the nervous system “ relaxes” and can bring psychological changes to your mental states too. There are many doctors and studies already prove that coherent breathing can help patients to ease their anxiety and have been treated with PTSD patients too.
The benefit of coherent breathing
Below chart is the scientific report of how coherent breathing can help with your body.
chart from bmedreport
If you are interested in learning and practicing pranayama, please come and join my online yoga lesson. I am teaching pranayama in every yoga lesson. Please also give it a try and I will be more than happy to hear your experience. For more of my yoga workshop or articles, please subscribe to my email list. Just scroll down and enter your email address and click the subscribe bottom.