Every yogi knows how important breathing is to our practice. We spend time focusing on it in pranayama, moving into it to help us stretch further, and using it it savasana to achieve ultimate relaxation. But did you know that poor breathing can lead to heart disease, chronic respiratory ailments and even cancer.
The normal rate of breathing for a relaxed person is between four and six breaths but This Modern Life of ours means that more and more of us are taking thoracic breaths due to stress. When we are in a state of anxiety we breath shallowly and quickly - it is not rare to see people whose 'normal' rate of breathing is between twelve and thirty breaths a minute - cutting the supply of oxygen to the rest of our bodies. This is bad for us on many levels, not least of which being that the loss of oxygen to our cells is an important factor in the development of carcinogenic tissue.
So, next time someone asks you why we take breathing so seriously in the yoga community, you can tell them - breath, is life.