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Why is breathing an essential element of yoga?

Breathing is one of the most basic requirements for life and something that we all do on a daily basis; however, it’s a bodily process that we pretty much take for granted because it takes care of itself. However, with a little bit of focus and concentration on your breathing, you can suddenly become very powerful and achieve some amazing things. In this article we explore the importance of breathing, how improved breathing is beneficial for your yoga practice and look at Felix price, a yoga instructor whose ability to master posture and breathing has led him to be one of the most sought-after yoga instructors.

Why is breathing so important?

At a very basic level if you don’t breathe, you die, it sounds extreme, but it’s true. Breathing supplies our bodies and organs with oxygen and this flow of oxygen has to be continuous and steady to ensure that our bodies function as they should. Proper breathing allows the body and brain to work properly. Breathing also helps the body get rid of waste products and toxins. As well as breathing in the air we also breathe out these toxins, and if our breathing is not good then these toxins will build up in our bodies and damage them.

Studies have shown that most of us only use around a third of our breathing capacity, and therefore there is scope for all of us to breathe better and reap the benefits of doing so. Good breathing has been linked to a variety of different health benefits including reduced stress and improved quality of life.

Certain groups of people who have learned to master the art of breathing such as the Tibetan Monks who practice Tummo meditation have been able to improve health, well-being and harness the power that breathing can offer.

Learning how to master proper breathing will not only help you in daily life but can also help improve the activities that you undertake such as yoga and actually make your practice better and more effective.

The importance of breathing in yoga

Getting your breathing right is a huge part of yoga and will help your practice immensely. Breath is considered to be a vital force in yoga as the body has different requirements for oxygen depending on the actions that you are undertaking in each pose.

As we increase our heart rate more oxygen is required so breathing becomes faster and with force, but if we are relaxing then the need for energy is lower and the breathing becomes relaxed and deep.

This means that both physically and mentally breath is a very important and powerful tool and in yoga, a focus is put on breath during each of the movements and while holding your pose. Focusing on breath while carrying out movements helps to control them and reduce a chance of injury, and makes your more relaxed, so physically it will be easier to carry out the movements.

All yoga instructors will ask those they are teaching to try and keep their breath smooth and relaxed during practice and regularly remind you to breathe encouraging deep inhalation and exhalation as you change positions.

Generally, in yoga, the moves which involve expanding your chest require you to breathe in and movements that involve contraction of your chest should be done while breathing out.  It’s also the case that if you are moving against gravity then breathing in is generally the norm and when moving with gravity you breathe out.

This has further reaching benefits than simply making the poses easier, it’s also to help you clear your mind and make you aware of your body so you do the movements as one.

Felix Price – the British Yogi

Felix from Ian Derry on Vimeo

Felix price is a well-renowned yoga teacher in London, who takes his inspiration from both ancient and modern practices of yoga to unite the body, mind, and spirit for health and well-being. On Felix’s journey to enlightenment, he traveled to India and learned yoga and established and awareness of posture, breathing, and concentration. He has also been to the Amazon to visit the Ayahuasca communities and explored the spirit worlds of shamanic healing.

Working with many teachers across the globe he has been able to design classes that are described as uplifting and inspiring by using dynamic and balanced sequences of exercise and relaxation and for this reason, his classes are extremely popular.

In recent times Felix has also incorporated new elements into his own training and understanding including weight training, martial arts, and calisthenics to help him learn more about the body and update and improve his yoga practice.

Not only does Felix teach classes and workshops across the London area he also offers massage therapy, and if you can believe that he has any spare time after all that he is also a passionate artist who has had his work shown in a number of exhibitions.

Felix is an instructor who has successfully mastered breathing and posture into his core techniques and one of the fundamental building blocks of how he teaches yoga is through good breathing technique.

Breathing is such an important part of life that taking some time to improve your breathing technique is definitely worth it. Whether you incorporate this into your yoga practice or simply take a couple of minutes once a day to sit and breathe deeply it’s definitely worth doing.

A simple technique to get started is using the abdominal breathing technique. Place one hand on your chest and the other on your stomach. Inhale deeply through your nose and ensure that your diaphragm inflates with enough air that you can stretch your lungs. Do this for 6-10 deep breaths per minute for up to 10 minutes and it will start to help reduce your heart rate and blood pressure. It’s also a great technique to have that you can use in stressful situations. Not only will your body thank you for it, you will feel happier and more refreshed too.

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