When the breath wanders the mind also is unsteady.
But when the breath is calmed the mind too will be still,
and the yogi achieves long life.
Therefore, one should learn to control the breath.
~ Svatmarama; The Hatha Yoga Pradipika
I was totally smitten with yoga after taking my very first class many, many moons ago, and I’ve been a regular practitioner ever since. I loved it so much, I became a certified yoga teacher and taught for a few years. I haven’t taught for a long time now, but yoga will always be part of my daily life.
Most people think of yoga as simply stretching exercises, but the true practice of yoga is so much more than that. While the physical yoga postures make up what most people call yoga, pranayama, or breath work, is as important and as beneficial to any yoga practice as the yoga poses.
While breath work is a big part of yoga, it is not unique to yoga practice. Historically, many cultures and disciplines have recognized the value of the breath as the interface between the body and the spirit and many have integrated the concept into the language and fabric of their cultures.