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There are many reasons why we need to focus on proper breathing during our training. The first and most important is of course the health benefits of it. Yes, there are many health benefits that are just associated with this type of breathing, it is not just something we do.
There are many benefits to pranayama breathing. Here are a few of the more important.
In addition to the increase in metabolism and the extra oxygen which help a bit with detoxifying there is a more direct and important reason for deep breathing (such as yoga breathing) That reason is the simple movement of the diaphragm. The diaphragm is the muscle that separates the upper (heart, lungs) and lower organs (liver, stomach, gaul bladder and intestines) of the body.
The practice of yoga and deep breathing insures that the diaphragm is moving through its full range of motion. This is important because as you breath in the diaphragm expands downward and massages the lower organs helping them in there detoxification efforts by stimulating a process called peristalsis (which is the process where the muscles move waist matter through the stomach intestines and out of the body), and as you breath out it contracts and massages and helps stimulate the lungs and heart which help improve blood flow. Another important point is it helps pump lymph more efficiently through our lymphatic system and body, This is important since the lymphatic system has no way of moving lymph though our body without the help of other muscles including the ones used in breathing.
Increased performance in sport. With proper breathing your body makes better use of the energy and fuel for that energy. SO you will be able to train longer and at a higher level.
Increased benefit in your meditations. The benefits to your meditations are significant, since your breathing is more under control and it is easy to establish a proper breath for the meditation your attention can go deeper into the body or mind paving the way for more advanced meditations.
Help with weight loss. The extra oxygen that you take into your body now is going through your blood stream, this helps the body perform all the chemical reactions more efficiently and faster, this also means more calories burned in shorter time. A second benefit is an increase in the metabolism, and this directly helps in the burning of fat. Now with that being said remember that breathing alone will NOT get rid of the fat in your body, but it can assist the process. To loose fat you need a proper diet and exercise.
DO you want to check the health of your breath? Try this little test.
1. Lay down on your back. Now breathe in through your nose.
2. With your chin on your chest let your abdomen rise as you breath in.
3. When your lungs are full (you cannot breathe in anymore). Hold your breath for 20 seconds.
4. Then slowly release the breath.
If this is no problem for you then you are doing ok. If however you are like most people you will find this uncomfortable and will be dying to release your breath. If this is the case you really need to work on improving your breath.
A VERY IMPORTANT NOTE.
All the breathing exercises in the world will not help you if you are not aware of your body, Meditations are also very important. These breathing exercises will help to improve your breath but only through these exercises and meditations together can you reap the full benefits.
WHAT TO EXPECT
When you start to practice these yoga breathing exercises you will feel the difference right away. You will feel relaxed and refreshed. Your body is saying Thank You for this. This is an immediate reaction to the practice of deep breathing exercise and meditation.
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Again thank you Ken and all the best to you and your family.