All the well known yoga gurus advice proper breathing as a means to a trouble free life. It is beneficial to take deep, long breaths and be aware of the breathing - after all, it is this awareness that is going to make a difference between good and bad health.
How does one begin to be aware of one`s breathing?
Whenever you are experiencing a powerful and positive state, like say, you are extremely happy about something, just take a minute to pay attention to the breathing pattern. Be aware of the timing and rhythm of your in-breath and out-breath.
Again, do the same thing when you are in the grip of some strong negative emotions. You will find that it is a totally different pattern. What you have to do is to consciously revert to the same breathing pattern that you had during your positive emotional stage, and sure enough, within just a minute or two, you will experience the same positive state. Such then is the power of proper breathing!
Breathing as an exercise
All you have to do, regularly of course, is to start the day with a breathing exercise. Inhale slowly and deeply, hold it for twice as long a period as the inhalation, and then release and exhale at twice the pace. You will be totally invigorated and full of energy - ready to face any odds during the day. It is one sure shot method of getting motivated, especially if there are things on you agenda for the day that require motivation.
When you consider that breathing is our life force and something that has a major influence on our state of mind, a few minutes devoted every morning to breathing exercises will surely lift us to a positive state of mind and help us face any negative things that might happen during the rest of the day. Only, if you happen to be an asthma patient, you would do well to consult your doctor before you embark on these exercises.
When you begin to follow a rhythmic pattern of breathing comfortably and deeply, slowly become aware of the act and imagine that your breath is from the area just below your belly button. Breathe in to last to a count of five and then breathe out through your mouth to a count of six. Continue this pattern for about five minutes. Notice the difference. You will feel totally relaxed and it is this yogic breathing that is called pranayama and a total cleansing of mind and body is the benefit that you will derive from practicing this.
Once you are comfortable with this, there is one variation that you may try out. Just lie on your back and pant like a dog through your mouth. Do this at least twenty times. After this, resume deep slow breathing through your nose for a count of twenty. Repeat the panting and the slow breathing for another round. This technique is called `the breath of fire` and will result in a state of almost euphoric well being.
These breathing exercises are so powerful that they will even help you control your state of mind and aid you during periods of change like gaining in self confidence, weight reduction, or refraining from smoking. Soon you will be a different person - one who is in total control of your mind and body.