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Breathe In Breathe Out and Pranayama?

If you have ever been to a yoga class you have no doubt been told at one point or another to be mindful of your breathe. Why do I, as a Yoga Instructor, constantly remind my students about their breathe? I do this because I follow the 8 fold path of yoga. The breathe is number 4 on this path and known as Pranayama. There is so much to learn about Pranayama, but in this article I am going to discuss 3 main reasons, I actively reinforce this practice in my studio. My 3 main reasons are energy, to release toxins, and regulate mood.

Pranayama has different translations but a common accepted translation is the "life force" but can be broken down to even mean "control" or "extend, expand" . The breathe is the most important element to our life. We know that during breathing a process called respiration occurs which uses energy to convert oxygen into forms that are usable by our cells. Respiration happens automatically, but the breath can be controlled. Each time you breathe you are allowing each cell to be nourished, thus adding energy to your body. When we control our breathe and find a pattern to our breathing, we are taken control of our "life" we are being an active participant in the process . Our body uses this energy as the basis to all of our functions, such as the release of toxins through the lymphatic system.

Each time you breathe you are releasing toxins, but are you using this to the full capacity as it was designed to do? We should be releasing up to 70% of toxins through our breath. Our lungs are so essential in the cleansing of toxins and body waste. It is so important that as you are transitioning through the poses, that you are aware of your breath. Releasing toxins is a huge part of our breathwork this it vital to our overall well being. The better we feel also helps to regulate our mood.

Our mood can change with our breathe. By controlling our breathing, we are stimulating the parasympathetic system. Most people are aware of this system with the fight, flight, or freeze response. When we are scared for example we begin to breathe quicker, which can cause an imbalance in the oxygen/carbon dioxide ration in our bloodstream. This imbalance leads to a change in the pH level in the blood that causes varying symptoms from muscle aches to anxiety, but when we are able to slow down the breath, we are able to counter this effect lowering the heart rate in which will lead to a calming effect.

Hopefully, I have given a deeper understanding of Breathe IN, Breathe out, and what pranayama is. This is just a tiny scratch at the surface of how important breath work is. Breathing is vital to our energy, our body's ability to release toxins, and directly effects our mood.

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