Life begins with an inhalation and ends with an exhalation. Although both of these actions are the most important and significant for life itself, it is easy to forget how important breathing is in everyday living.

Breathing is the foundation of yoga; if an individual practices the postures but neglects the respiration, yoga becomes gymnastics. Yoga instruction is based on breathing techniques. As we progress, we try different “pranayama” (regulation of the breath) exercises. It is instrumental in achieving a better balance in our vital energy.

Incorporating the breathing techniques taught in a yoga class into your everyday life is simple. For novices, just paying attention to your breathing, and breathing consciously from the diaphragm for a few minutes at a time, several times each day, can help promote a relaxation response and manage stress.

Yoga is not a miracle pill that cures all of our ills in a single dose, however. Yoga must be practiced and lived every day.