(para português clique here)

Breathing just happens, like digestion, metabolism, water balance and secretion. As a matter of fact, we are being breathed by something unknown. Many times I have asked myself how these processes occur. Without me doing anything. If I don’t pay attention to my breath, it goes on and on and on even when asleep. In fact I think it is a miracle.

Breath is the equivalent for life. You know when you stop breathing you are dead. When you stop moving for instance, you can go on living for years. All those automatic processes – so not only the breath – are being conducted by your vegetative nervous system.

True, you only have one nervous system but to distinguish the different functions this system has been divided in three. And the vegetative nervous system is one of those. It is not submitted to human will or consciousness. So whatever you think or do, it does its job. Possible malfunctions never start on that level. They develop in the subconscious stream of thoughts in your mind and could affect the body. So the breath is doing its work; it is the ‘motor’ that can break down. Breath itself will only start dysfunctioning under a lot of stress. And that is really the time to do something.

In yoga for instance the breath is being trained with the objective to optimally make use of that beautiful breath of life. For in daily life we don’t do anything with the respiration but being breathed.

I do like to exercise my breathing because it has so many advantages, like:

  1. The lungs stay in shape. They become stronger and I am less susceptible for colds and flues etc. It can help cure disorders of the respiratory tract and of course with respiratory problems due to stress.
  2. With one inhalation of Co2 I also receive prana. Prana is the true energy that forms the life force we humans need to function in a healthy way on mental, emotional and physical levels.
  3. Breathing consciously gives me peace because concentrating on my breath takes me away from the chatter in my mind.
  4. Breathing consciously generates energy and more life force.
  5. And, not unimportant: when executing yoga postures the conscious respiration helps me to find the balance between effort and relaxation and a quiet mind. Isn’t that great!

Breath is, together with time, your best friend in life.

For yoga “novices” breathing exercises may seem boring and unnecessary. I do hope that after reading this blog, you will understand how important it is to be able to control the breathing. It makes the difference between an energetic, relaxed life and a weary and stressful life.

Here is a small and simple exercise you could do every day:

  1. On waking up in the morning, don’t get up, just lie down on your back and put your hands on your belly. Breath under your hands. Slowly, as if you smell the fragrance of a rose. Let the air stream in and out through the nose. After five low respirations move your hands to your ribcage.
  2. Hands on the ribcage and breath under your hands. After five middle respirations place your hands on the chest.
  3. With your hands on your chest, start breathing the high respiration under your hands. Five times.
  4. Place your arms next to your body and execute the total respiration. Five times. Fill your belly, ribcage and chest in 5-10 counts. Slowly. Exhale in the same amount of counts and empty belly, ribcage and chest. Feel the space in your body, feel the breath even in your toes. Then leave the breath to its own work. Observe.
  5. Last but not least, express your gratitude for life, for the day in front of you and for your body being there to serve you. And after that, get up with a smile on your face.

Have fun with the exercise and a great weekend.