Do you ever find yourself holding your breath or taking short gasps of air during stressful situations? How often do you notice your breathe and are you actually mindful of taking slow deep inhales and slow steady exhales? The breath controls heart rate, pulse, and even has an effect on the digestive system.
In the Bikram yoga practice, you start and end with two breathing exercises and are reminded to breath while holding strenuous poses. One instructor says, “Remember your breathe, this is your yoga.” “Breathing in gives you energy, breathing out relaxes you.” Not just in yoga, but other sports – such as running and swimming – are all centered around the breath giving the body the energy it needs to move.
You can practice pranayama breathing – breathing exercises that have the ability to quickly increase our energy, release stress, improve our mental clarity, and improve our physical health – outside of the yoga studio. To practice this breathing, take a deep inhale through the nose for six counts and a deep exhale through the mouth for another six counts.
Pranayama breathing and simply being mindful to take five to six deep inhales and five to six exhales during stressful times and throughout the day can have such a positive effect on your overall health.
Pretty powerful stuff how something that comes naturally without any thought can have such a beneficial effect on our overall health. Think about how much better you will feel - mind and body – if you are mindful of this one small practice.