Why Breathing is So Important During Yoga

The marriage between breathing and movement is one of the things that makes yoga, yoga. Breathing is one of the vital components of yoga that opens the body’s energy channels and allows the movement and breath to relax the body and promote health and wellness.

In yoga, breathing is more than just the act of breathing in and out. It is an intentional practice designed to accompany each pose and remove energy blocks. Through deep and intentional breathing, the body is energized and purified.

Why Breathing is So Important During Yoga

As a standard practice at all yoga studios, breathing during yoga is an important component in getting the most out of your experience. If you do not breath properly during yoga, you are likely to end the experience feeling tired and mentally drained. Breathing is crucial to getting the most out of yoga, even the most challenging or complex poses.

One of the primary goals of yoga is to relax the body and aid in flexibility and overall wellness. If your body is stiff and fatigued, you could do more harm than good by practicing yoga without understanding the importance of breath. Breathing deeply during yoga helps avoid injury and connect your body and mind to your practice.

Asana and Breathing

When practicing Asana, the focus of breathing is on controlling the breath and being aware of it. When the act of breathing becomes focused on the physiologic changes happening, the magic of yoga begins. During this focused breathing, your energy shifts. Stress begins to melt away and your body and mind are energized.

In Asana, the prana (life energy) is closely connected to your breathing. During Asana, breathing can do more than just awaken your prana, however. Practicing focuses breathing can help find balance in the body and relieve joint compression. It can open your mind and help clear emotions.

Ujjayi Breath

Ujjayi breathing (victorious breath) is the type of breath work done in Vinyasa/Ashtanga yoga practices. This is the type of breathing you will do during more strenuous poses. Many people find Ujjayi breathing to be both energizing and relaxing. It can be done during any type of practice. To get started with the Ujjayi breath, try the following:

  • Close your eyes and imagine you are looking down your nose
  • Smile softly and let your breath begin to lengthen
  • Close the back of your throat as you would if you were whispering
  • Feel the air flowing on the back of your throat
  • With your mouth closed, notice the sound of your breath, like wind moving through trees
  • Listen to your breath and allow it to flourish. Keep your breath and sound at the same length

Ujjayi breathing is a great way to introduce focused deep breathing into your yoga and meditation practices.

Breathing with the Entire Body

Most of us breathe in and out without taking much thought into how much our bodies need this precious oxygen. We expand the ribcage or belly, but do not consider moving our breath outside of those frontal areas of the body. The result is that we fill only parts of our bodies with breath, rather than our entire being.

Tension and other factors can lead us to not take full deep breaths. Some people even hold their breath unintentionally while attempting something challenging, even yoga poses. But by containing and controlling your breathing, you maintain control and calm throughout your yoga practice.