Yoga as we know, is an ancient form that is arguably as old as time itself. It has stood strong through the ages and its practitioners transcend the different cultures. Today, it’s one of the most widely practiced holistic forms of healing and wellness.
Breathing is one of those things in life that we do not give a second thought to. Most of the time these things are second nature to us having been a regular fixture and part of our daily lives.
Breathing is an automated process that has been a part of our lives since birth and for that very reason itself, it is most often than not (and for lack of a better word) taken for granted. It is only when our ability to breath is interrupted that we realize its importance.
There are a number of factors that can impair our breathing ability but as with any other issues, prevention arguably the best remedy.
So how to know if we’re breathing right? Here are a few tell tale signs of dysfunctional breathing:
 You’re inhaling with your chest. If your chest is the first thing that moves when you take a breath (inhale), it’s a sign of shallow breathing.
 Place your hands on either side of your rib cage as you inhale. You will notice that your hands should move to the side by about 3 to 5 cm. If this is not the case chances are you’re engaging in shallow breathing as well.
 If you find that every few minutes you have to take a deep breath, sigh or even yawn, it’s a sign that your breathing pattern is restricting the body’s ability to get oxygen.
Proper breathing requires you to be aware of your breathing. Just like with most things, when your sense of awareness is focused and heightened, you will be able to understand the situation and in this case, yourself better.
According to Ilse Middendorf, breathing expert and educator, “The awareness of breath movement encompasses the physical experience as well as the true nature of the self.”
Conscious breathing (or breathing awareness) is beneficial and provides a good foundation for better body and mental health. It can transform and even strengthen your overall wellbeing. A breathing technique that is often used in yoga is called “Pranayama Breathing” and this technique not only gives clarity of mind but also delivers physical benefits.
The importance of proper breathing technique can never be over emphasized. Breathing is important for 2 basic reasons:
- It is the only means of supplying the body with oxygen
- It is one of the ways we get rid of toxins and waste
If we learn to breathe properly, the body can function at its optimum capacity and this can even help prevent illness and other negative elements from afflicting us. Proper breathing also leads to better mental clarity and focus which will help us overcome barriers and challenges in our daily lives.
Under the guidance of qualified yoga instructors or teachers, students will learn to breath properly and execute the various poses with better focus and efficacy. Yoga is widely acknowledged to benefit both the body and mind.
When you breathe proper, you’ll breathe better. The next time you’re at East Coast beach or whichever beach in the world, fully enjoy the fresh air as it can only do good for your well-being.
While you are there, you could even practice some of the yoga poses you’ve learnt in class and truly experience the full efficacy and fun of yoga in the sun.