The art of breathing

The art of breathing
BY Virgin Active South Africa
Posted On 5 January, 2023

Everyone breathes, right? So why is mindful breathing such a big deal?

Yogis have long practised the art of breath control or “Pranayama” and modern scientists have confirmed that by paying attention and controlling your breathing in Yoga and everyday life is one of the most powerful ways to reduce everyday stress levels and improve many different things ranging from mood to metabolism.

“It’s also not limited to just breathing, it’s mind training that uses the breath as a vehicle.” – Roger Cole, PhD and Iyengar Yoga teacher and physiology researcher.

Mindful breathing benefits

1.  Emotional stability: Managing your breath can change how you feel. Studies have demonstrated as much as a 40% change in feelings of happiness, fear, anger and sadness.

2. Weight loss: Yogic breathing increases levels of leptin, which is a hormone that tells the brain to squash feelings of hunger.

3. Exercise stamina: Deeper breathing means that more of the lung’s surface area is used. This increases the amount of oxygen that gets taken in, which is essential for energy output.

Take a breather now

Breathwork can deliver powerful mind and body benefits. Journey with Mandisa, Virgin Active Online Yoga instructor, as she guides you through a breathing exercise. Ujjayi Breathing is a technique that allows you to calm your mind by focusing on your breath.


The business of lungs

The purpose of the lungs is to deliver oxygen and remove carbon dioxide from the blood in a process called gas exchange. The cells in your body need oxygen to burn sugars, fats and proteins for energy. The by-product or waste produced in this process is carbon dioxide, which needs to be removed from the body to keep it balanced and healthy.

Breathing in

When you breathe in your diaphragm contracts. This increases the space in your chest cavity, which in turn increases the space for the air coming into your lungs. This process also actively “pulls” air into your body. The oxygen you’ve just inhaled is then carried by the bloodstream to every single cell in your body.

Breathing out

After the cells have used up the oxygen, they need to get rid of the carbon dioxide waste. The body does this by carrying it in the bloodstream back to the lungs, which in turn push it to be exhaled through the nostrils. Ommmm🙏

Photo by Max van den Oetelaar on Unsplash