If you’ve began a journey in yoga or meditation, then you understand the importance of controlling your breathing. For those that haven’t, you’d be surprised by the effect your breathing can have on your quality of life. 

Many yogis like to say that they measure the span of their life by how many breaths they take, not how many years they live. The main reason is because research suggests that controlling your breathing and learning to take longer, deeper breaths can translate to a longer life. 

For example, it is said that breathing 15 times per minute will result in someone living to be about 75-80 years old. On the other hand, breathing 10 times per minute can increase your lifespan by nearly 20 years. 

Let’s highlight some of the main reasons why awareness of breath is such a heavy focus in yoga and meditation, as well as why you should start to make a habit of it. 

Conscious Breathing vs. Unconscious Breathing

Most of us think that breathing is done involuntarily and we have no control  over it. In reality, having control over your breathing will actually change how your brain works throughout the day. 

When you breath unconsciously, your breath is managed by the medulla oblongata — which contains control centers for the heart and lungs. When we are breathing consciously, we stimulate the cerebral cortex — which is the more evolved and most developed area of the brain. 

This can lead to a relaxing and balancing effect on your body, mind, and spirit that you’ve likely been missing out on before. When you control your breathing, you can further control your emotions. 

No More Emotional Disruptions

With controlled breathing and the activation of your more-developed part of the brain, you will notice all those random thoughts and emotional distractions are now gone. Your body and mind will get a much-needed break and will be focused on the “now.” 

Your balanced energy will disrupt any physical or emotional blockages that could be negatively affecting your life. You know that freeing feeling that overcomes you after a yoga session, that’s a result of emptying your mind of any distractions. 

Practice Controlling Your Breathing Everywhere

Yoga and meditation are great ways of learning the importance of proper and mindful breathing, but these techniques aren’t to only be used in class. These skills can be utilized outside of class and should be practiced 24/7. The more you practice, the more it will become a habit. 

We often lose control of our breathing in stressful situations or moments of despair. Taking what you’ve learned in class, you can use conscious breathing to slow down any moment and find that happy place of yours. 

I always like to say, don’t let one moment ruin another moment. When you start to feel disconnected, overwhelmed, or stressed, simply find your breath, control it, and move about your day with pride and joy.

Breathing plays a major role in our day-to-day lives without us really noticing. Take some time everyday to master this art and you will start to see the benefits from the moment you wake up in the morning.