Breathing is the most basic function of the physical body, and without it, there can be no life. It energizes all the tissues and removes the waste of the cell process. It is the first thing that happens when we are born and the last event when leaving this body.
We are born with one inhalation and die with an exhalation.
According to the physiology of Yoga, we have five bodies and not just one. The first is the physical body, and after that, we have the energy, the mental, the intuitive and the causal bodies.
We also have five flows of vital energy that nourish the body. The channel of communication between bodies, or levels of being, is the breath. Breathing is affected by everything, and it can also affect everything. Our good health is directly related to how we breathe. Our way of life and thinking also affects our breathing and well being. We don't realize it, but it happens.
This fact may create a vicious circle. Thoughts and emotions affect how we breathe, and irregular breathing affects how we think, feel and function.
Yoga, and specifically the system of Hatha Yoga, is primarily concerned with breathing. Exploring breathing for the first time is a slow process that requires patience and practice.
Usually, when we decide to observe our breath, we intervene with it, which occurs automatically without us realizing it. The reason is that we are not ready to accept the breath and the mind as it is.
The point is that breathing shows our mental state. It is entirely different when we are asleep or when we are working manually. It is different when we are angry and when we are calm.
The first step to change our emotional state is to become aware of the breath.
When this happens, we can begin to observe what our relationship with the mind is. Hatha yoga is a process of body-mind purification, and breathing plays the primary role, together with our attitude.
Yoga is our natural state, like back in the years when we were infants discovering the world. We investigate the outer and inner world until we understand that everything is one.