The Breath is the most important aspect of a yoga practice, as you must maintain a steady rhythmic breath. With a focus on quality, its training can allow you to calm the mind and bring awareness to the present moment. This awareness is in essence the heart of yoga.
Breath is our life-force, it nourishes our cells and our tissues, bringing life into our bodies.
Human beings breathe on average 15 times every minute of every day, and this respiration fuels the burning of oxygen and glucose producing the energy needed to power every muscle contraction, every heart beat and every mental process.
Slow, deep breaths stimulate a calm and content state of mind and body.
However, most of the time, we are not aware of our breathing and limit the breath to the chest rather than all the way down to the abdomen. It is this deep belly breathing that is vital for our overall well being and often times requires retraining in order to return to a full, deep and complete breathing pattern. This is important because breath work is the starting point to breaking the viscous cycle of all stresses, injury or emotional disarray.
With the practice of yogic breathing the true muscles of respiratory (diaphragm and intercostals) will improve in mobility, strength and ultimate efficiency of gas exchange within the lungs; thus allowing for the purification of the bloodstream, cleansing of the sinuses, soothing the nervous system and calming of the mind.
Full, natural breathing occurs when we can find balance of effort and ease, grounding and surrender, freedom of movement and alignment of postures.