A yoga session usually starts with breathing exercises or "pranayama". In Sankrit the word Prana means energy of life and yama means control, therefore since the earliest times, breathing exercises implied longevity through the control of breath . Pranayama consists of three phases: Purak (inhalation), Kumbhak (holding) and Rechak (exhalation). In human beings, breathing is the connection between body and mind, while Pranayama is considered as a manipulation of breathing.
A word that we often hear in both good and difficult situations in life is "breathe". You have a panic attack, breathe; you are excited or feel joy, breathe; you feel like you're drowning, continue breathing. In a yoga session, another sentence we often hear is: relax, do not forget to breathe. The importance that breathing has in our mind and body is often forgotten.
As a result, breathing turns into something automatic, unthinkable, something that take for granted. We often forget that it is the first thing sq do when we are born and the last one when we die. Breathing if the most basic function of the human body, but if we pay attention to breathing when experiencing a strong emotion or difficult situation we notice how important this function is to us. To help us relieve any emotion and let go.
As a yoga teacher, often in yoga session I notice gaps of complaint when practicing a pranayama exercise. For many, breathing is understood as something basic, but when practicings pranayama exercises for longer and managing to extend the time we take on inhaling and exhaling, the benefits of pranayama are valued by everyone. The impact it has on the brain, in muscle relaxation and in concentration, become more obvious when the gasps of complaints and boredom are replaced by a state of calmness or stillness.
In a scientific study conducted by researchers at the Trinity College Institute of Neuroscience and the Global Brain Health Institute at Trinity, in Dublin, Ireland, it was stated that breathing directly affects the levels of a natural chemical messenger in the brain called noradrenaline. "Noradrenaline is an all-purpose action system in the brain. When we are stressed we produce too much noradrenaline and we can’t focus. When we feel sluggish, we produce too little and again, we can’t focus. There is a sweet spot of noradrenaline in which our emotions, thinking and memory are much clearer. "
Based on this study, while breathing (inhalation) there is an increase on producing noradrenaline , while exhaling this production is decreases. Consequently, our attention span is directly affected by breathing where it rises and falls with the breathing cycle. By focusing and regulating your breathing, you can raise the level of attention or concentration and vice versa, focusing on your level of attention, breathing becomes more synchronized.
So take all the time you need to understand each pose, coordinate every motion with your breathing even if it looks like a long or boring process. Benefits will always be great for stress relief, concentration and complete health of body and mind.