Because breath directs the flow of prana, or life energy, in the body. Simply by learning to breathe as fully as possible, the energetic system that feeds the physical body can be opened up and healed.
There are particular patterns of breathing associated with each mood we experience. An anxious person will have short, shallow, fast and upper chest breathing. In states of anger, the breath seem to quiver. In states of joy, the breath is full, deep and relaxed.
Learning deep yogic breathing is the gateway for all those who seek to heal the heart--not only emotionally, but also physically. The lungs and the heart are directly connected.
In this type of breathing, the body begins to produce its own natural antidepressants, lowers the stress hormone cortisol and begins to produce DHEA, the number one youth hormone of the body, which fights fat and makes us feel young and energetic.
Under stress, the first thing we do is interrupt the flow, narrowing the gaze of the eyes and freezing the muscles.
To harness your breath, you must understand it. The science of yoga describes five flows of breath. All five flows have to be working well for a person to be completely healthy.
Prana Vayu is the upward flow. It nourishes the brain and the eyes. According to Ayurvedic medicine, disorders of the upward flow of breath may be a factor in asthma, anxiety, insomnia and ringing of the ears.
ApanaVayu is the downward flow. Apanavayu nourishes the organs of digestion and elimination. It is essential for feelings of tranquillity and groundedness.People with high blood pressure are not exhaling fully and experience profound, measurable shifts in their heart when they learn to let go more fully.
Vyana Vayu is crucial for everyone who exercises. It is the breath that radiates outward from the navel to the arms and legs, literally bringing life energy to the extremities. Another description of this breath is naval radiation, the first breathing reflex to develop in the womb. If you don't feel like moving, it may be because your vital energy is literally stuck in the core of your body, often because of a subconscious unwillingness to experience buried emotions. Vyanavayu rules movements in the body that proceed from inside to outside. Out of balance, it can lead to high blood pressure and heart rhythm irregularities.
Udana Vayu is important for women who want to maintain their thyroid function and metabolism. In Ayurvedic tradition, thyroid abnormalities are often accompanied by a disorders of this aspect of breath. Udanavayu is a circular flow of breath around the neck and head. Out of balance, it can "also lead to sore throats, coughs, and memory problems.
Finally, Samana Vayu is a circular flow of breath around the waist. It corresponds to a special acupuncture meridian in Chinese medicine called the belt meridian. Its principal movement is from outside to inside. Samana Vayu helps to maintain the digestive fire. Disorders with this breath may lead to indigestion, diarrhea, constipation, or malabsorption.
Throughout your day, you can gauge your level of relaxation by noticing these aspects. If you are not breathing, chances are your performance is already compromised. If an aspect of your breathing is continually compromised, ANTRANG YOGA can help you to identify how to switch it back on. You can also meditate on the lines of energy for each breath, and through awareness, learn to open each one until your lungs are full and your heart is open and full of joy.