Why is breathing important?
Breathing has never received the attention it deserves. In western culture it is not common to pay attention to the “breaths”. Many people ignore breathing, assuming it is a passive activity.
When people go scuba diving, they are surprised to learn that each diver has a different breathing pattern. So many of us have a shallow breath, and even shallower when we are under stress or having anxiety. In relation into cross-training, mostly when we do water sports such as scuba diving , this is a big deal. There are no shortcuts, there is no hiding from your breath when you are underwater. How long one tank can support you underwater depends on your air consumption.With proper breathing, your air consumption will be more efficient. Conscious breathing also develops complete mental control, which every diver needs in stressed situations.
This is where yoga teacher training comes in. One important part of traditional yoga is pranayama, or breath training. Pranayama is a practice to remove life force restrictions through breathing practices.
It is also believed that we only have so many breaths in our life. Our life is not about how many years that we have, but about how many breaths that we take. So if we want to have longer life, we should take slow and deep breaths.
One quote from my favorite free diving champions, Stig Severinsen is : “The more you believe in the power of thought, and the more you listen to your breath, the greater changes you can create in your life.”
Now that we know why we would like to breathe consciously, where do we start?
First is the willingness to practice. Practice everyday, and listen to the changes in your body. Pranayama is a powerful tool, so use it mindfully. We can start practicing stationary by sitting up, then in a later stage we bring this practice into our everyday life and into our underwater activities.
Practice your breathing
There are various different breathing techniques, but the simplest one to practice and the one that is most useful for underwater is to breathe fully into the three different breathing chambers in our body.So sit down with straight spine, and breathe in through your lower belly, then up to your rib cage and finally into your upper chest. Breathe out through your chest, rib cage and then belly. Feel how your belly and back is expanding, how your chest is lifting. Remember you can always come back to normal breathing if you feel discomfort.Doing this, you are training your lungs and breathing muscles to be stronger and have bigger capacity.
It will take time, but changes are coming. Deep in the blue, our lungs are our engines, so we will need them to work properly. Train your lungs, learn to breathe consciously, and you will surprise yourself underwater!
Yoga Teacher Training