Breathing: You’re doing it wrong

You breathe every day of your life. You’ve been doing it since the day you were born — but chances are, you’re doing it all wrong. What? I realized how poorly I was breathing when I started doing yoga.

When I inhaled, I would draw my bellybutton towards my spine — but, obviously as the air comes in, your belly should expand, right? Oops.

Focusing on breath is so important in your yoga practice because, well, it makes your entire life better. Ameliorated breath means increased blood circulation, smoother release of toxins and an improved ability to cultivate mindfulness.

It’s amazing how much changes in your mind and body when you direct attention to your breath in stressful situations.

But hey, why trust a girl who doesn’t even know how to breathe? Here’s what Modo Yoga co-founder Ted Grand had to say about why the breath is so important.

“The breath is at the very essence of our existence. We can go without food for a few weeks; without water for a few days; but stop breathing for a few minutes and we are dead.”

“It is a beautiful and complex process that involves the brain stem, specific arteries, the nervous system and some select muscles.”

“None of them work independently, and instead, there is a profound symmetry of information gathering, signal sending and execution that allows for us to be available for what is occurring right in front of us.”

“Are we being threatened? Then the breathing will become quick so oxygen can be better utilized for fighting or running away. Are we lying on the couch, reading a book? Then the breathing slows so we can be present and relaxed.”

“Breathing also serves to provide the body with the oxygen that it so desperately needs in order to function, and helps to release carbon dioxide from the body as a waste product.”

“The movement of the muscles of breathing helps to massage the abdominal organs, creates a pulling motion on the heart and further stimulates the flow of cerebral spinal fluid.”

“Breathing is amazing and a real miracle. The more we are connected to that power, the more grateful we are for simply being alive.” — Ted Grand, Modo Yoga co-founder (British Columbia).

Now, if that’s not elegantly explaining how important the breath is, I don’t know what is.

Have you ever focused your attention on your breath — how simply breathing differently can manipulate all the different parts of your body?
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