The Emotional Benefits of Pranayama (Breath Exercises)

Do you remember the last time a person told you to take a deep breath to calm down? It's not bad advice. In fact science supports the point that when you focus on stretching your breath and your breath pattern changes so does your emotional state. I've noticed when I'm done with a long day and my little son is fast asleep, I sigh as I collapse into my bed to read. This long deep audible breath is an obvious example of my breath pattern changing as my motherly duties are temporarily on pause.

Our breath changes when we feel joy, pain, fear, anger and so on. When we practice pranayama (breath exercises) for 5 to 20 minutes a day, we can break our unconscious breath patterns and unconscious emotional patterns that sit within them. This is an amazing fact that I'm personally noticing to be true now that I've committed to a 20 minute pranayama practice every morning for the past few months. I'm realizing that I can catch and release my anger or anxiety when I'm off my mat by taking several deep breaths. Am I perfect? Never, but I'm always trying to get to my best self.

We function at our best when we flow with life's rhythm. Although it is absolutely normal to get stuck in one way of thinking and being even though it may not align to the present moment. When this happens we have a limited range of understanding and emotions thus making us predictable, stubborn and plain old boring to be around. Daily pranayama practice can reverse this stagnate state. Like the fresh and new feeling you feel before writing on a blank page after time spent with a slew of old words or restarting your computer to work smoothly again after it got stuck, you can rebalance your mood out of a repetitive emotional loop by simply stretching your breath.

Give it a try with me at my final Need a Break to Breath? Summer Pranayama Class, Friday June 26th at 1:30pm at Bamboomoves Yoga in Englewood, NJ. Visit to register. In July I will be offering these same classes during the last four Fridays of the month at the Bamboomoves Yoga Palisades Park, NJ location at 1:30pm.

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