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Breath and life go hand in hand. One cannot exist without the other. Breath in Sanskrit is Praana, which denotes life. Breathing like the beating of the heart starts with birth and goes on till the day one dies. No rest, no stoppage, breathing just goes on and on. However unlike the heart beat, over which we have no direct control, breathing can be controlled by us, to add better quality to our life.
Stress and breathing

Most of us unconsciously breathe from our chest or thorax. Thoracic breathing is directly related to the activation of the "fight or flight" arousal mechanism. In fact there is a vicious cycle where stress creates thoracic breathing and as long as we breathe with the chest muscles instead of the diaphragm, we are continually creating more stress. With shallow breathing we are unable to relax. Thoracic breathing supplies inefficient oxygen to the blood, which causes the heart and lungs to work harder to accomplish the proper amount of oxygenation.

Diaphragmatic breathing on the other hand, increases the efficiency of the entire cardio-respiratory functioning. In fact the workload on the heart and lungs can be reduced by as much as 50% when we switch from thoracic to diaphragmatic breathing. Thoracic breathers will require 16 - 20 breaths per minute while diaphragmatic breathers require only 6 – 8 breaths per minute.

Breath Awareness Breath awareness teaches us to pay attention to our breathing habit. To improve the breathing pattern it is essential to first be aware of our breathing habit. Before beginning the breathing exercises it is important to analyze our breathing. How is your Posture, Is your breathing it deep and abdominal, Is it Slow or fast, Are there pauses between inhalation and exhalation, Do you breathe from your nose etc

Basic Breathing Exercise The basic breathing exercise consists of ensuring deep, long, abdominal breathing while maintaining a good posture. As one progresses to more advanced breathing techniques, you learn to prolong the exhalation.
Breathing as form of Meditation

Breathing forms the basic pillar over which many meditation techniques are built. Vipassana form of meditation introduced by Gautam Buddha is a technique where one reaches a transcendental state using breathing as a vehicle.

For more Breath-taking information and Breathing techniques you could refer to the book “Calm Sutra, the Art of Relaxation”.
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