Breathing is a much bigger deal than most people realize.
You may assume that if you are reading this, you must, by definition, be alive, and therefore, by definition, you must be breathing.
Most people are doing short, shallow breaths.
The lack of proper breathing affects your metabolism.
I had one yoga student who literally lost 22 lbs. just by learning yoga breathing. I would not have believed the story myself if I had not been there to witness it. She only came to yoga class once a week, not being much of a fan of exercise, but she learned how to breathe and made a point to breathe deeply while sitting at her desk every day as a secretary.
If you catch yourself holding your breath, that means you are in fight or flight.
If you are stuck in survival mode, your nervous system will not be able to heal.
You will be constantly pumping our adrenalin and cortisol, which lower your immune system and deplete your calming neurotransmitters.
Your stressed breathing also affects your muscles, because when you are constantly pumping out cortisol, your muscles stay stiff and you may experience more pain than someone who has learned how to breathe properly.
Breathing is one of the many factors that I check and repair when I am doing healing work.
I usually take all this breathing that I do for granted until I am around other people.
Recently, at my yoga book club, our fearless leader, Jose Blanco, asked everybody to count their breaths for 1 minute. Most people counted 22 to 24 breaths. I counted 10 breaths. It was really 9 and a half breaths, but I just rounded it up. I did not realize until everybody had gone around the table and given their number just how different I had become after years of teaching yoga and qi gong, meditating and doing healing work.
I wasn’t trying to do any special pranayama – I was just sitting there in the coffee shop with my friends.
I realized that even if I am having a hard day or a challenging week or even a stressful month or year, that I am still miles better off than the average person. I have permanently improved my nervous system for the better.
When you are no longer in fight or flight, your higher self can take a true overview and you can think from your higher mind. You can access your true power in any situation.