The foundation of yoga (and life) is your breath. Not fancy poses or even Patanjali’s 8 Limbs. It’s all about how you breathe.
It’s important to get to know this vital bodily function (that we all take for granted), not just for yoga, but for daily life and health. Your breath can literally transform both!
Here are the top ten things you probably didn’t know about your breath:
1. Breath is an indicator of mood. Therefore your breathing patterns can change your mood. This is why breath/pranayama is such an important factor in yoga.
2. Breathing slowly and deeply can reduce your appetite. It’s true! The next time you think you are hungry try it out. People who breathe in a short, rapid manner tend to overeat.
3. 70% of waste (this includes fat) is eliminated through our breath. The rest goes out via our skin and of course, the restroom. When the efficiency of our lungs is reduced, so is our body’s ability to eliminate waste.
4. Your breath is a first responder. Your breath is intimately connected to your physical and mental state. It is the first indicator of how things are going with whatever is currently happening. Everything from thinking, feeling, and observing to tasting, touching and smelling will affect your breathing patterns. Get present with your breath and get control of your day. And your life!
5. You lose a lot of water through your breath. This is one reason we say hydrate, hydrate, and hydrate some more! At rest, humans exhale up to .6 fluid ounces per hour but with exercise, it can increase by 4 times that amount. Drink up! And no—coffee, tea, and sodas don’t count.
6. The lungs are floaters. The lungs are the only organs in the human body that can float on water.
7. The lungs are large! The right lung is larger than the left to accommodate the heart. The left lung has two lobes, the right has 3. And if you laid your lungs out flat they would cover the surface of a tennis court!
8. Mouth-breathing is a no-go. Regularly breathing through your mouth can contribute to a misaligned bite, bad breath, sleep apnea, snoring, and middle of the night bathroom trips, believe it or not. Your nose is for breathing, your mouth is for eating!
9. Your breath is in control of your day. Shallow, fast, constricted and/or tight breath patterns indicate a constant state of stress. It will cause you to overreact to what’s happening around you and unnecessarily waste your precious energy.
10. Everything flows out with the breath. We inhale positive thoughts, exhale negative thoughts. The breath doesn’t just expel physical waste but mental waste as well. When you feel a stressor coming on, stop and take a few deep inhales, and longer exhales. Consciously focus on nothing but your breath and feel the stress exit.