Breath of Life

Breathing is a basic function of life that we often take for
granted. Poor breathing habits can lead to health problems, while optimising
our breathing can protect us from illness and improve our health.

The first thing I teach people in Yoga or in therapy work is
to breathe through the nose as I believe this to be a basic foundation of
health.

There are more than 20 known functions of the nose and nasal
cavity from a physical perspective, but there are three primary reasons to breathe
through your nose that render the external air harmonious for the respiratory
system.

1)     The incoming air is filtered.

2)     The air temperature is regulated.

3)     The moisture content is regulated.

From the Yoga viewpoint the subtle body behind the physical
system is of most importance. The Pranic sheath envelopes and rules over the
physical aspect.  There are also many subtle body functions of the nasal system.

A few important ones are:

1) The nostrils are a main site for the absorption of Prana which stimulates the master Prana
in the brain area and so exerts a regulatory effect over the five major Pranas that control the
body’s functions and so maintain health and vitality.

2) The health of the brain and the whole nervous system rely upon the efficient absorption of Prana
through the nostrils.

The common cold, the first symptoms of which often begin inthe head,
indicates a breakdown of immunity due to the connection between the
Pranic and physical sheaths being weakened.

It is recommended that you practice some asanas breathing
through the nostrils and regulated by ujjayi.

Follow asanas with 3 rounds of kapalabhati.

Practice pranayama for 10-15 minutes.

Ideally this should be done twice a day as a minimum to
maintain health.

Check at other times that you are breathing through your
nostrils.

If you are not familiar with these practices I recommend you find a teacher
who is competent to instruct in breath work and pranayama to assist you
in developing your practice.

For a more in-depth article on the Vinyasa Krama method of
practice see:

http://www.harmonyyoga.co.uk/2011/04/19/breath-of-yoga/

And on Asthma:

http://www.harmonyyoga.co.uk/2010/05/08/yoga-and-bronchial-asthma/

Breath well, it’s an infinite source of energy and vitality.

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