Breathing is one of our most important bodily functions.
We can go several days without food, water, or sleep, but just a few minutes without oxygen will kill us. However, in spite of the importance of breathing, few people breathe in a natural and complete way. People nowadays lead lifestyles that prevent them from breathing correctly.
Through our respiration we provide our body with the oxygen needed to feed our cells. If this feeding process is defective, i.e., if our cells do not receive the oxygen they need to fulfil their mission, our body's circulation system will suffer, and the same will happen with the digestive, glandular, nervous, and other systems. As the different internal organs fail to perform their tasks adequately, our body as a whole will start progressively deteriorating.
Similarly, many disorders caused by stress and anxiety are related to insufficient breathing. A vicious circle is formed in which the worse we breathe, the more anxiety we experience, and the more anxious we feel, the worse we breathe.
When our lungs do not receive enough oxygen, our blood is insufficiently oxygenated. In other words, it cannot purify itself correctly, and the waste products that should be eliminated start slowly poisoning our body.
Insufficiently oxygenated blood contributes to anxiety, depression, and fatigue, making stressful situations all the harder to overcome. For this reason, adopting good breathing habits is crucial for our physical and mental health.
In the East and in India, breathing exercises have been an integral part of people's phusical, mental, and spiritual development for ages. In the West, however, the importance of breathing correctly has only very recently been discovered. When trying to catch up with the East's understanding and control of respiration, the West has borrowed many teachings from the practice of yoga.