One of the most important aspects of a successful yoga practice is how well you are able to breathe in sync as your move your body through the poses.
Breathing is essential for all living things and is an incredible wellness tool. It is also one of the simplest, natural parts of life, and the power of the breath can always be harnessed when you need it most!
Directing your consciousness to your breath allows you to:
- Reinvigorate your energy levels
- Release built-up stresses
- Focus your body, heart and mind
- Awaken your inner perception
- Increase your connection to spiritual energy
Breathing deeply creates a connection between your inside and your outside environments, deepening the connection to your surroundings and the natural world.
This is something that is always encouraged and explored within a yoga practice, and although it may be tricky at first, it will certainly get easier with time. If you have been practicing yoga without really incorporating the breathing aspect, then make a promise to yourself that you will work towards this goal!
Meditation and Breathing
Many meditation practices are focused on breathing, but this is also something that should go hand in hand with your yoga practice. Meditation often takes your breath from beyond the natural daily baseline, and uses different techniques to expand your opportunities for healing.
Breathing Through Anxiety
Anxiety is something that anyone can struggle with at any point in their life. Sometimes the anxiety that you experience may be slight and easy to get under control. However, your anxiety may also sometimes be severe and prevent you from doing everyday things in a simple way.
Being aware of techniques that you can use to alleviate anxiety is a great way to help prevent the impact of it when it does strike, but it is also of course worth spending some time looking at the root causes of your anxiety.
When it comes to how breathing, and therefore also yoga, can be of benefit when you are attempting to alleviate anxiety, we can first look to science for answers!
The Parasympathetic Nervous System
The activation of the parasympathetic nervous system is the answer when you are seeking a peaceful and relaxed state of mind.
The parasympathetic nervous system is one of two branches of the autonomic nervous system (ANS) – the other being the sympathetic nervous system (concerned with fight or flight mode). The ANS is the branch of the peripheral nervous system (PNS) that is responsible for involuntary processes inside of the body.
It isn’t possible for the sympathetic and parasympathetic systems to be active at the same time, so your body can either be ready for fight and flight, or for rest and relax – and I know which one I prefer!
When your body spends more time resting then it does prepared to deal with stress, then you will likely experience the following benefits:
- Optimum blood pressure
- Stable blood sugar levels
- High energy levels
- Better sleep
With the many benefits to our health and happiness that come with the activation of the parasympathetic system, you would be forgiven for thinking it is hard to achieve! The simple truth is that you can master this relatively quickly by regularly engaging in conscious deep breathing exercises.
Spending a moment to focus entirely on your breath, whilst being aware of the physical sensations of your body, will help to ease your mind and lower your stress levels. As you slow everything down, your body will be releasing hormones that promote peace, calm and relaxation!
Give it a try for yourself!