Steady Breathing is the First Thing To Go

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During a yoga class when the intensity ratchets up your steady breathing is usually the first thing to go. You’ve got to make a conscious effort to work through that mounting anxiety in order to come back to focusing on your breath, and if you don’t your whole practice will suffer and eventually fall apart.

What does this have to do with life in general? Everything actually, because although most people aren’t accustomed to consciously focusing on their breathing in their daily lives, it still changes dramatically when they are confronted with various challenges, and this change creates a vicious cycle. The physiological changes that are cued off by the stressful situation include a change in breathing, which compounds those physiological changes.

Mindfully coming back to your breathing during these times, making it slow and rhythmic, can do wonders for you because it allows you to influence physiological processes like blood pressure and heart rate that are usually autonomic, meaning regulated by your body and outside of your control. You might not realize it, but when you start to feel challenged by people or situations your steady breathing is the first thing to go, and if you can notice this fact and get it back under control you’ll be using a powerful physiological channel to feel more at ease rather than going the classic route of trying to calm yourself down purely through controlling your thoughts and emotions. We all know how hard it can be to control our thoughts and emotions in the heat of the moment, and focusing on your breathing gives you a better route because it lets you center all your attention on your in-breaths and out-breaths while letting your breathing do the work of calming you down.