In many cultures, the word for breath is the same as the word for life. The quality of our breathing is often a direct reflection of our psychological and emotional states.
Physiologically, breathing provide us with the oxygen and carbon dioxide exchange that is essential for cellular respiration. Breathing is also one of the few physiological processes that is both autonomically and consciously controlled; our capacity to mindfully control the breath gives us a powerful tool to directly shift the state of our nervous system and sense of well-being.
For thousands of years, breath control has been a yogic tool for managing the mind and preparing for meditation. In our stress-filled world, these ancient techniques can provide us with important tools for managing stress, improving self-awareness, and recognizing the connection between the mind, body, and emotions.
By understanding the anatomy of the breath, you will be better able to share these techniques and this wisdom skillfully with your students.