Rushing and pushing through our days, schlumping in our cars and rounding over our computers at work, our breath becomes constricted.
In order to breathe properly, several things must happen.
There is a nerve junction at the T12-L1 junction.
That is the place in where the 12th thoracic vertebrae and your 1st lumbar vertebrae come together.
It’s just above your lower back.
If you put your hand in your lower back, it would be the place at the top of your hand.
Your nerves flowing through your spinal cord form a bundle up to this point.
At the T12-L1 junction, the nerves fan out.
If your back is tight at T12-L1, not only will the nerves that run to your lower back muscles not work well, you also won’t breathe well.
That’s because the nerves that run through this junction go to your diaphragm, the dome-shaped muscle that helps you to breathe properly.
That’s for starters.
So when we do our yoga practice and our back becomes more flexible, we start to be able to breathe better all the time, not just when we are practicing yoga.
Of course, while we are practicing yoga, we are making an effort to breathe more deeply.
Even complete beginners who have to be reminded to keep breathing get the benefits of yoga breathing.
When we breathe deeply and our inhale and exhale are rounded and equal, something special starts to happen between our heart and our brain.
When you do deep, yoga breathing, keeping our inhale and exhale about equal, your heart and brain waves come into what is called entrainment.
How does this happen?
When you do yoga breathing, your lungs filling and emptying evenly with deep breaths, your EKG starts to go into a beautiful, rounded sine wave.
A lot of people don’t realize that their EKG – their heart rhythm – actually controls their EEG – their brain waves.
When we do deep, even, rounded yoga breaths, our EKG and our EEG start to synchronize and the scientific research shows we access our deepest levels of intelligence.
Hormonally, we start to produce DHEA.
DHEA is our mother hormone. It’s the hormone from which all our sex hormones are made – our testosterone, our estrogen, our progesterone and also our stress hormones cortisol and adrenalin.
This is why the deep breathing that we do is very regenerating – it allows us to begin a cascade of positive rebuilding in our bodies, beginning at the hormonal level.
Meanwhile, as we do our deep breathing and our EKG and EEG synchronize, our brain waves go into an alpha brain wave state.
When you are awake, your brain produces primarily beta waves.
When you relax, your brain produces alpha waves.
The scientific research shows that when people produce alpha waves they get out of pain.
So this wonderful deep breathing that you are doing when you practice your yoga not only makes you smarter and younger it gets you out of pain and you relax.