How the Gentle Yoga Breathing Works

How Gentle Yoga Breathing Technique Works:

Breathing through the Nose:

The first rule of Gentle Yoga breathing is that we should breathe in and out through the Nose. Mouth breathing can adversely affect the development of the thyroid gland. The nose has various defense mechanisms to prevent impurities and excessively cold air entering the body.

At the entrance to the nose, a screen of hairs traps dust, tiny insects and other particles that may injure the lungs if you breathe through the mouth. After the entrance of the nose, there is a long winding passage lined with mucus membranes, where excessively cool air is warmed and very fine dust particles that escaped the hair screen are caught. Next, in the inner nose are glands which fight off any bacilli which have slipped through the other defenses.

 

The benefits of deep breathing:

During and outside of your Gentle Yoga practice

  1. Improvement in the quality of the blood due to its increased oxygenation in the lungs. This aids in the elimination of toxins from the system.
  2. Increase in the digestion and assimilation of food. The digestive organs such as the stomach receive more oxygen, and hence operate more efficiently. The digestion is further enhanced by the fact that the food is oxygenated more.
  3. Improvement in the health of the nervous system, including the brain, spinal cord, nerve centers and nerves. This is due again to the increased oxygenation and hence nourishment of the nervous system. This improves the health of the whole body, since the nervous system communicates to all parts of the body.
  4. Rejuvenation of the glands, especially the pituitary and pineal glands. The brain has a special affinity for oxygen, requiring three times more oxygen than does the rest of the body.
  5. Rejuvenation of the skin. The skin becomes smoother and a reduction of facial wrinkles occurs.
  6. The movements of the diaphragm during deep breathing massage the abdominal organs – the stomach, small intestine, liver and pancreas. The upper movement of the diaphragm also massages the heart. This stimulates the blood circulation in these organs.
  7. The lungs become healthy and powerful, a good insurance against respiratory problems.
  8. Deep, slow, yoga breathing reduces the work load for the heart. The result is a more efficient, stronger heart that operates better and lasts longer. It also means reduced blood pressure and less heart disease.
The yoga breathing reduces the work load on the heart in two ways. Firstly, deep breathing leads to more efficient lungs, which means more oxygen is brought into contact with blood sent to the lungs by the heart. So, the heart doesn’t have to work as hard to deliver oxygen to the tissues. Secondly, deep breathing leads to a greater pressure differential in the lungs, which leads to an increase in the circulation, thus resting the heart a little.
  9. Deep, slow breathing assists in weight control. If you are overweight, the extra oxygen burns up the excess fat more efficiently. If you are underweight, the extra oxygen feeds the starving tissues and glands. In other words, yoga tends to produce the ideal weight for you.
  10. Relaxation of the mind and body. Slow, deep, rhythmic breathing causes a reflex stimulation of the parasympathetic nervous system, which results in a reduction in the heart rate and relaxation of the muscles. These two factors cause a reflex relaxation of the mind, since the mind and body are very inter-dependent. In addition, oxygenation of the brain tends to normalize brain function, reducing excessive anxiety levels.

The Consequences of Fast and Shallow Breathing

Consequences of Fast and Shallow Breathing

When our breathing is too shallow and too quick, we are not taking in sufficient oxygen and we are not eliminating sufficient carbon dioxide. As a result, our bodies are oxygen starved, and a toxic build-up occurs. Every cell in the body requires oxygen and our level of vitality is just a product of the health of all the cells. Shallow breathing does not exercise the lungs enough, so they lose some of their function, causing a further reduction in vitality.

There are many reasons as to why our breath is fast and shallow – the main ones are:

  1. We are in a hurry most of the time. Our movements and breathing follow this pattern.
  2. The increasing stress of modern living makes us breathe more quickly and less deeply.
  3. We get too emotional too easily. We get excited easily, angry easily, and most of the rest of the time we suffer from anxiety due to worry. These negative emotional states affect the rate of breathing, causing it to be fast and shallow.
  4. Modern technology and automation reduces our need for physical activity. There is less need to breathe deeply, so we develop the shallow breathing habit.

As we go through life, these bad breathing habits we picked up become part of our life. Unless we do something to reverse these habits, we can suffer permanent problems. The good news is that these are reversible. Certainly, yoga is one of the best ways to cope up with the stress and the resultant drop in oxygen supply to the brain brought on by the constricted breathing.

The Breath Counteracting the Damage of Modern Lifestyles

The Breath Counteracting Modern Lifestyles

We know how to breathe. It is something that occurs to us automatically, spontaneously, naturally. We are breathing even when we are not aware of it. So it seems foolish to think that one can be told how to breathe when we are in a yoga class. Yet, one’s breathing becomes modified and restricted in various ways, not just momentarily, but habitually. We develop unhealthy habits without being aware of it. We tend to assume positions (slouched positions in front of computers and televisions) that diminishes lung capacities and take shortened breaths.

A normally sedentary person, when confronted with a perplexing problem, tends to lean forward, draw his arms together, and bend his head down. All these body postures results in reduced lung capacity. The more intense the concentration, the more tense the muscles become. The muscles in the arms, neck and chest contract. The muscles that move the thorax and control inhalation and muscular tenseness clamp down and restrict the exhalation. The breaths become shorter and shorter.

In our GENTLE YOGA sequence, we engage with movements and postures which are geared to counteract these muscular contractions by opening up the chest, by lengthening the muscles, and also, by working with a better quality breath to avoid these contractions in the first place.

Enriching Our Bodies with Oxygen

In our Gentle Yoga practice, breathing is very important, as we move through our sequence of movements and postures. The long, slow elongated breath is a means of getting more oxygen into our bodies which is so essential for the integrity of the brain, nerves, glands and internal organs. We can do without food for weeks and without water for days, but without Oxygen, we will die within a few minutes. If the brain does not get its proper supply of this essential nutrient, it will result in the degradation of all vital organs in the body.

The brain requires more oxygen than any other organ. If it doesn’t get enough, the result is mental sluggishness, negative thoughts and depression and, eventually, vision and hearing decline. Scientists have discovered that the chemical basis of energy production in the body is a chemical called Adenosine Triphosphate (ATP). If something goes wrong with the production of ATP, the result is lowered vitality, disease and premature ageing. Scientists have also discovered that oxygen is critical for the production of ATP; in fact, it is its most vital component.

Conscious and Unconscious Breathing

Connecting with your breath is a method for being present. When you concentrate on each aspect of the breathing process, you are present; you let go of the past and future and are focused on the moment inside the breath. This is why breathing consciously is its own meditation. But this is just the beginning of why conscious breathing is important.

When you breathe consciously you activate a different part of your brain. Unconscious breathing is controlled by the medulla oblongata in the brain stem, the primitive part of the brain, while conscious breathing comes from the more evolved areas of the brain in the cerebral cortex. So, conscious breathing stimulates the cerebral cortex and the more evolved areas of the brain.

Consciously breathing sends impulses from the cortex to the connecting areas that impact emotions. Activating the cerebral cortex has a relaxing and balancing effect on the emotions. In essence, by consciously breathing, you are controlling which aspects of the mind dominate, causing your consciousness to rise from the primitive/instinctual to the evolved/elevated.

By changing the breathing pattern, you can produce different states of mind. Slowing down the breath has an impact on your emotional state. The cerebral cortex is activated through consciously slowing down the release of breath. Then, the cerebral cortex sends inhibitory impulses to the respiratory center in the mid-brain. These inhibitory impulses from the cortex overflow into the area of the hypothalamus, which is concerned with emotions, and relax this area. This is why slowing down the breath has a soothing effect on your emotional state.