The master yogis knew and shared the wisdom of the breath and breathing as a path to Self-Realisation, the alchemical spiritual evolution of the human body and psyche. 


The first step on this journey, I find, is to start having a loving relationship with our breath.


The definition of breath that is relevant to our yoga practice is

air inhaled and exhaled in breathing.


The definition of breathing that is relevant to our yoga practice:

: to draw air into and expel it from the lungs : RESPIRE

broadly : to take in oxygen and give out carbon dioxide through natural processes

b: to inhale and exhale freely



Read below for further Merriam-Webster dictionary definitions that are just as interesting if not all together relevant for our topic of yoga. Although I do find that the yoga practice/sadhana is like a “breath of fresh air’’ in the day or you might find yourself “living and breathing” your sadhana :-D. 


We all breathe, yet many of us do not use our breath consciously to improve our well being, our state of mind, our digestion, our mood etc...we can all learn to breathe better than we already do, and it only takes practice. See Scrolls on Breath-Work, Prana, Pranayama.


Breath practice in Yoga can be done through movements (Hatha/Vinyasa Yoga), can be done sitting or lying down in stillness or can even be the object of meditation practice. Breath practice and Meditation practice is not always the same thing. Breath practices are meditative. Yet breath when used as a tool of meditation serves another purpose. Then the breath is not actively moved this way or that as it is in Breath-Work. Natural breathing is the foundation breath to observe both for breath-work and meditation techniques.  



More from Merriam Webster on Breath and Breathing


breath noun



Definition of breath


: air filled with a fragrance or odor

b: a slight indication : SUGGESTION

the faintest breath of scandal


: the faculty of breathing

recovering his breath after the race

b: an act of breathing

fought to the last breath

c: opportunity or time to breathe : RESPITE

3: a slight breeze

4a: air inhaled and exhaled in breathing

bad breath

b: something (such as moisture on a cold surface) produced by breath or breathing


5: a spoken sound : UTTERANCE


breath of fresh air

: a welcome or refreshing change

in one breath or in the same breath

: almost simultaneously

out of breath

: breathing very rapidly (as from strenuous exercise)

under one's breath

: so as to be barely audible

mumbled something under his breath


breathed; breathing

Definition of breathe

intransitive verb

1a: to draw air into and expel it from the lungs : RESPIRE

broadly : to take in oxygen and give out carbon dioxide through natural processes

b: to inhale and exhale freely

2: to blow softly


4: to pause and rest before continuing

5: to feel free of restraint

needs room to breathe

6a: to permit passage of air or vapor

a fabric that breathes

b of an internal combustion engine : to use air to support combustion

c: to be cooled or dried by air that passes by or through

clothing that allows your skin to breathe

of wine : to develop flavor and bouquet by exposure to air

8a: to become perceptible : be expressed

a personality that breathes and that distinguishes his work

— Bennett Schiff

obsolete : to emit a fragrance or aura

transitive verb

1: to inhale and exhale

breathe air

2a: to send out by exhaling

b: to instill by or as if by breathing

breathe new life into the movement

3: to take in in breathing

breathe the scent of pines


don't breathe a word of it to anyone

b: to make manifest : EVINCE

the novel breathes despair

5: to give rest from exertion to

6: to spend a great deal of time, thought, or effort on (something) : to be wholly devoted to (some interest or activity)

The Virginia native may not breathe basketball 24-7 … but during games and practice, his focus is second to none.

— Robbi Pickeral

As with visiting companies, one of the key reasons for going to conferences is to avoid the tunnel vision that can overcome managers who live and breathe their business.

— Leslie Brokaw

breathe down one's neck

1: to threaten especially in attack or pursuit

2: to keep one under close or constant surveillance

parents always breathing down his neck

breathe easy or breathe easier or breathe easily or breathe freely

: to enjoy relief (as from pressure or danger)