Art & Science of Breathing

"Control over breath is control over life" — Swami Rama

WITH Rolf Sovik

Course Description Start Course

Working with the breath is a powerful tool that allows you to change the way the mind and nervous system operate. That is why breath training is a foundation of yoga practice and is also an important part of inner healing. The breath holds the body and mind together and has a major impact on both. Learn how the body actually breathes and how breathing is connected to the nervous system, mind, and emotions. Then use the breath in guided practice to calm and balance the mind and body.

Explore with us:

  • The anatomy and mechanics of breathing, including the leading role of the diaphragm
  • The three main influences on breathing: involuntary or automatic, voluntary or conscious, and non-voluntary (linked to emotion, pain, or stress)
  • A schematic of the healing process that includes working with the breath as an important healing strategy
  • Step-by-step practice of breathing and relaxation

Breath: Enlivening the Mind and Body   

Knowing something about the theory and structure of breathing will make it easier to understand a discussion of how to breathe and the advantages of breathing well. Rolf explains that the breath holds the body and mind together in such a way that it gives them life. It activates the body’s nine physiological systems (remembered using the mnemonic NECDURRLI) and gives life to our mind and emotions. Working with the breath in yoga has two layers: breath training and pranayama. Relaxation is built on breath training.


Introduction to the Organs of Respiration   

Using slides, Rolf describes the respiratory passageway—the path air follows into and out of our lungs. This movement of air in and out is known as outer respiration, in contrast to inner respiration, the transportation of air through the bloodstream to our cells. Breathing supplies oxygen to our body’s inner fire of metabolism, which burns energy to keep us warm. The lungs are actually passive. It’s the diaphragm muscle that really does the breathing by making the lungs expand when it contracts.


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