We breathe without thinking about it, and that’s a good thing, because if we did actually consider our breath work closely, it wouldn’t leave us much room to concentrate on anything else. However, there are some surprising benefits of breathing deeply or practicing yoga, that make it a very worthwhile exercise, and something that each of us should incorporate into our lives.
Less anxiety and depression
Many of us are under a great deal of pressure to perform in our daily lives, at work, at home, and even while doing ordinary activities like shopping, taking kids to school, or dealing with neighbors in the community. All this can take a major toll on your mental health, and if there is no counter-acting agent, you could end up with some serious emotional issues. By taking time each day to find a quiet spot and focus on your breathing, as you would in practicing yoga, you can achieve a sense of inner calm that can dispel much of that pent-up anxiety, like a pressure-relief valve.
Better immune system
This might sound like a surprising claim, but science tells us that breathing deeply can actually improve your immune system. This is because when you take those long, deep breaths, you are supplying more oxygen
to the body, and when your blood becomes more highly oxygenated, that is what helps your immune system to perform better. When the bloodstream has more oxygen, it is better capable of delivering vital nutrients throughout the body, and you become a healthier individual.
You will acquire more energy
for the same reason that your immune system becomes more robust – the bloodstream is more highly oxygenated. With more oxygen in the body, you’ll feel much more energetic and more prepared to tackle the rigors of daily life. It also improves your mood, and helps you to feel much more alert throughout the course of an average day.
Any kind of intense physical workout causes your body to have to recover from the sheer exertion of it. Deep breathing has been proven to help your body recover more quickly from the strain of a difficult workout, and it also reduces the likelihood of any injury occurring. When you regularly engage in deep breathing, it conditions your body to respond and recover better from such exertion, and lessens the time necessary for recovery.
Lower level of pain
Believe it or not, regular deep breathing will allow you to experience less pain
, because you won’t be so stressed or tense. Being stressed can heighten your body’s response to pain, whereas deep breathing will diminish it. When you feel pain, take a deep breath and this will put you in a more relaxed state quickly. It will also trigger the release of endorphins, which are the body’s ‘feel good’ hormones. Endorphins play a major role in how you perceive and react to pain, so a few minutes of deep breathing will go a long way toward reducing the level of pain you feel.