Breath and Stress and Yoga

Have you ever experienced shortness of breath from anxiety, fear, or stress? If so, then you have experienced firsthand how the body, breath, and mind are connected. All these systems seem to shut down when we lose our breath. Adrenaline pumps through the body, our heartbeat accelerates, and our muscles tense up, depleting much-needed oxygen. Our breath is clearly linked to our cardiovascular, endocrine, circulatory, and digestive systems. Learning to breathe the yogi way can help us cope with stressful situations.

Pay close attention to your breath the next time you experience stressful news or get into an argument. Notice how shallow or labored your breathing becomes. You may need to gulp for air through your mouth or stop, sit down, and try to catch your breath.

Both the body and mind prosper from good breathing habits. In order to better understand the correct way to breathe, let’s look at our pulmonary apparatus.

Taking twenty minutes a day to relax and practice breathing techniques may help reduce hypertension and high blood pressure. Hypertension is linked to atherosclerosis, or hardening of the arteries, and stress is linked to hypertension. Approximately 50 million Americans suffer from high blood pressure, according to the American Heart Association.

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