Breathing is the essence of yoga and without practicing it in the right manner yoga is totally futile. The ancient yogis that discovered and practiced yoga understood that by practicing it in the right manner one can reach a state of enlightenment. However, this is not easy as it reads. It requires rigorous training of the mind and body through yogic asanas such that they synchronize and work together in a unique pattern to pave the path towards enlightenment.
Thus, yoga is the union of the body and mind through the element of breath and this is the reason why breath is so important in yoga.
In yoga, breath is the life force that brings energy to a being and without it one is is not living. While practicing yoga, one has to practice conscious breathing since this allows one to channel the different energies within their self. It also allows one to pass through the different levels of consciousness.
Breath helps to connect one to the present by concentrating on it. It thus helps to live and remain invested in the present and forget the past and future. Therefore, it is the only thing that reminds us about the present. Also, by breathing consciously one can activate many parts of the brain.
Slow breathing is an essential part of yoga and activates the cerebral cortex of the brain. The cerebral cortex then sends inhibitory impulses towards the hypothalamus, which is the part of the brain that is related to emotions and this relaxes that part of the brain. This is why slowing down of the breath has a very soothing effect on the emotional state of a person.
Thus, we understand that the breath controls the body, the emotions and the mind. There are a total number of 72000 channels of energy also called the Nadis, the 3 most important Nadis are the Ida, Pingala and the Susuhmna. The Ida Nadi is known to have the moon energies that calms and cools the body.
The Pingala Nadi is known to have the sun energies that have the heating effects on one’s body.
The Susushma Nadi is the central energy that has a balancing effect in the body. Breathing consciously or unconsciously involves the activation and the flow of those particular energies. That is why the breath is so important to yoga, as it enables smooth flow of energies through these energy channels.