Yoga is an exercise that can be termed more spiritual than physical. While it helps in stretching and relaxing the muscles, it also helps calm the nerves and aids concentration.
Breath control and regulation are one of the major aims and advantages in all forms of exercise. Yoga is no different. One of the core aspects of yoga is Breath Control.
During yoga classes, one of the main instructions is for the people to breathe and be conscious of their breathing. To feel the breath and connect with it.
This is because breathing affects life. In as much as this is true, people tend to ask questions like ‘what are the benefits of breath control in yoga?’ to give them more closure about the exercise.
Five(5) Benefits Of Retaining Your Breath In Yoga
1. Length of life:
It is general knowledge that we all need to breathe to get oxygen into the body for the proper functioning of the system. Yogis believes that the measure of one’s lifespan is in the number of breathing one takes, not by the number of years.
It has been scientifically proven that the more a man breathes, the lesser his life span and the less he breathes, the more his life span. So, yoga teaches people to hold their breath for as long as possible.
This reduces how frequently people breathe, increases breath retention and thereby increasing life span. It is one of the reasons dogs have a shorter lifespan, they are continually hyperventilating.
2. Brain activation:
The retention of breath reduces or stops the outflow of carbon dioxide, thereby causing an increased level in the body. This is not too good for the body and signals are sent to the brain.
This brings about a form of nervousness in the brain awakening and activating some nerve cells in the brain. New cells are formed and the dormant ones are reawakened. The brain becomes more functional and useful.
There is an overall effect that breath retention causes to the body. The inhalation of oxygen has a calming effect on the body and makes the body to have a form of stillness. You have control over your breathing. The brain and nervous system could become so calm that the rate of reactions to the environment is almost negligible.
This is regarded as a state where the rate of breathing is lower than normal. This has a lot of effects on the body. It aids the digestion of food, makes the muscles more flexible, allows for the influx of more air into the lungs, and there is also free flow of blood to the brain and heart.
5. Healthier body:
A lot of sicknesses are caused by stress and people’s inability to relax or maintain a relaxed state for a long period. Constant breath retention helps to relax all the organs of the body, thereby reducing stress and eventually a healthier body is achieved.
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Why is Breath So Important in Yoga?
As earlier mentioned, Yoga is an exercise that centers on the consciousness of a person. A great way to achieve this feat is through a tool: the breath.
It is through breathing that one becomes more aware of one’s consciousness and inner self. A deep and long breath helps to sometimes clear one’s head, mind, and facilitate meditation.
It is believed that breathing slowly can help change the state of mind of an individual. It has a soothing effect on the mind and helps one to be more focused on whatsoever one desire.
This is a routine often tagged as controlling one’s breath. You set the pace at which you want your breath. You decide when you want to exhale or inhale.
There is also called conscious breathing. It is a generally known fact that breathing is a reflex action done involuntarily. But when done consciously, there is a form of awareness and concentration on each breath you are taking that makes you appreciate and focus on the moment.
You let go of every other thing and can channel your mind to the present and whatsoever you want. This routine helps one to have a focus.
Can Holding Your Breath Kill Brain Cells?
Though it is not a myth that lack of adequate oxygen in the brain cell causes it to die, however, holding your breath for a short period isn’t capable of causing any neurons damage. But, if you hold your breath longer than the recommended time, then this may cause some harm to the brain.
If you are just starting out this kind of exercise, it is advised that you don’t overstretch yourself. As you progress gradually, you will find out you can hold your breath for a longer period of time without causing any sort of damage to the brain cell.
You may ask, ‘How do you know when to stop?’ Stop when you your body tells you it can no longer handle the exercise. The next subheading talks more about this.
How Long Can The Average Person Hold His Breath?
In as much as it is healthy to retain ones breath for a while, care has to be taken not to overdo it. On average, one can hold one’s breathe for three minutes without harming one’s health. This is particularly true for untrained people.
Although they could go further because the body has enough oxygen to last for much longer, the high amount of carbon dioxide in the body is not so welcomed. There have been records to prove that a person can hold his breath for more than 20 minutes. Although the side effects are real, there are ways around this.
This feat is achieved through hyperventilating. This process helps to get rid of all the carbon dioxide in the body and stuff the body with enough oxygen. You can then hold your breath for as long as it is healthy without the risk of feeling light-headed or passing out.