Breathing is essential to our survival and to our good health. We can live more than 50 days without food and about 7 days without water. But, without oxygen we cannot survive more than about 5 minutes. In yoga we learn that our breath is our life-force, or "prana" in sanskrit. In many cultures the breath (or qi, chi, or prana) is considered the vital link to energy, awareness, composure, and ultimately to transcendence.
So why focus on breathing? Remember this phrase:
Breath Control Equals Mind Control.
Think about it--
Your breath and your mind are intricately connected; recall the way your breathing is affected when your mind is experiencing something totally unrelated to breathing, like when you are listening to music, or when you are watching a movie. If the film gets suspenseful, you hold your breath. When the action speeds up, so does your breathing. Your breath subconsciously responds to the film’s happy or sad ending by either becoming steady, smooth, and regular, or irregular deep and broken, all whilst you sit a chair hardly moving a muscle.
Humans are not normally conscious breathers. Though many creatures on our planet are also not conscious breathers there are a fair few that are: like dolphins, for instance. Dolphins are known for having high intellects, distinct personalities, and large brains (bigger than humans). There is a definite correlation between higher levels of intelligence and conscious breathing--in both animals and humans. As we take time each day to focus on the breath and become conscious breathers, we strengthen our divine connection, become more in tune with and aware of our bodies, and both physically and spiritually purge the stale, stagnant air/energy from both our physical and spiritual bodies.
The physical benefits of deep breathing include:
the body manufacturing more endorphins (the body's natural "high"), which acts as a natural painkiller and causes you to feel lighter and more upbeat; helps to remove toxins from our organs; promotes better blood circulation; helps you remember your dreams; reduces stress; lowers blood pressure, strengthens the abdominal and intestinal muscles; helps you sleep better; holds an alkalizing effect on the body..... etc.
Try this simple exercise upon rising and right before you go to bed:
1) lie flat on your back and inhale for 5 seconds straight--gently popping your stomach to the ceiling as far as it feels comfortable
2) hold your breath for 5 seconds
3) exhale completely in five seconds, pulling your belly button towards your spine and gently compressing your inner organs.
4) hold your breath for 5 seconds and
5) gently inhale for another 5 seconds...... etc
Repeat this process a minimum of 3 times for immediately invigorating results.
Read more: http://www.livestrong.com/article/92264-benefits-deep-breathing/#ixzz1zLaKGkFU