Definition - What does Breath mean?

Breath is the force that sustains life; conscious breath is the force that sustains awareness. In the practice of yoga, the breath is fundamental.

Regulated breath opens the body and channels vital energy, or prana. Mindful breath facilitates equilibrium and supports the pose. Conscious breath provides focus and enables the mind to reach its meditative state.

The control of the breath is also known as pranayama in Sanskrit.

Yogapedia explains Breath

Conscious breath is a cycle that infuses the body with oxygen and channels prana throughout the physical being. The full breath cycle includes four discrete, and equally important, elements:

  • Puraka (inhalation) - The steady drawing in of air; filling the lungs and creating an awareness of the vital force that is entering the body.
  • Abhyantara Kumbhaka (pause after the inhalation) - The intentional cessation of inhalation; a full pause with the body motionless.
  • Rechaka (the exhalation) - Release of the breath in a steady, conscious movement. Lungs return to a relaxed state.
  • Bahya Kumbhaka (pause after the exhalation) - A state of calm awareness preceding the next inhalation. A moment of quiet reflection; a present state of being.

Email Newsletter

Join thousands of others with our weekly newsletter