“Yoga incorporates many breathing exercises, which could help improve breathing and lung function.” (Healthonline.com)
When I started writing a draft of this post, the air quality in Bend was rated from “moderate” to “unhealthy” depending on which way the wind was blowing smoke from fires all over the western US … and it reminded me of how important breathing is!
If you “Google” it, even a cursory look on the Internet suggests that most of us are not breathing properly — only paying attention to our breath when we are running out of it. Our modern lifestyle, hunched over a computer or otherwise sitting sedentarily on a chair or couch leads to shallow breathing. Shallow breathing is a stress state and leads to many health problems including weakened immune system, aggravated pre-existing medical conditions, prolonged healing and recovery times, panic attacks, respiratory problems and can lead to cardiovascular issues.1
“Shallow breathing doesn’t just make stress a response, it makes stress a habit our bodies, and therefore, our minds, are locked into,” says John Luckovich, an apprentice Integrative Breathwork facilitator in Brooklyn, New York.1
While most people are familiar with yoga poses, called “Asana”, asana has a complementary practice in yoga called “Pranayama” which is the control of the breath.
How Can Yoga Help Improve Your Breathing?
A student recently asked me “we do guided breathing right?” and my response was that first we have to learn proper posture and how to open the chest. These are elemental for improving our breathing. First, we establish a strong yoga asana practice in order to increase strength and flexibility in the spine and increase movement in the chest in all directions.
Once a solid asana practice is established, then we can introduce guided breathing exercises which will promote the strength and flexibility of your breathing apparatus which leads to improved breathing.
If you are interested learning more about how yoga can help improve your breathing, Cascade Yoga recommends our “Deluxe Beginner Package” including a consultation, mini-private lesson and two weeks of unlimited yoga classes for $79.
Note: If you are already experiencing respiratory health issues, you should seek the guidance of a medical practitioner before starting a yoga guided breathing practice.
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