In This Chapter
Understanding breathing basics
Detailing yogic breathing mechanics and techniques
In the ancient Sanskrit language, the word for “breath” is the same as the word for “life” — prana (pronounced prah-nah) — which translates into what is known as vital force, your life force. This gives you a good clue about how important yoga thinks breathing is for your well-being. Yoga practiced without conscious breathing (which awakens prana) is like putting an empty pot on the stove and hoping for a delicious meal.
In this chapter, you discover how to use conscious breathing in conjunction with the yoga postures. This chapter also introduces several breathing exercises that you do seated either on a chair or in one of the yoga sitting postures (if you’re up to that).
Most people’s breathing habits are quite poor and to their great disadvantage. Shallow breathing, which is common, doesn’t efficiently oxygenate the ten pints of blood circulating in your arteries and veins. Consequently, toxins accumulate in the cells. Before you know it, you feel mentally sluggish and emotionally down, and eventually organs begin to malfunction. Poor breathing is also known to cause and increase stress, which itself ...