Is yoga about stretching or breathing?

Breathing and Movement: How breathing helps our movement

We breathe between 17,000 and 20,000 times a day, 365 days a year. That's between 6 and 7 million breaths a year - for a lifetime. Our life starts with a strong breath and ends with the last breath. Our breathing is probably the most faithful companion in our life and the bridge between physical and mental processes - but how many breaths do you really take consciously? I have to admit myself: at least they are.

Breathing is probably the most fundamental process in our body. It usually takes place unconsciously and completely automatically. However, we have the opportunity to influence our breathing in order to optimally use the advantages of conscious breathing.

The parasympathetic system is activated; the sympathetic system lowered

The body excretes carbon dioxide

Increased oxygen supply for the muscles and the brain

Unfortunately, over time we develop more and more postural patterns (restricted movement of the thoracic spine, shortening of the abdominal frontal fascia chain) that restrict our breathing. Stress and tension also play their part in making our breathing ever shallower.

What exactly happens when you breathe in and out?

Inhale: The diaphragm tightens and descends downward. The external intercostal muscles are activated. This causes the chest to rise and widen. The sternum rises and the abdominal muscles bulge outward. This gives the lungs more space to expand.

Exhale: The diaphragm relaxes and arches up into the chest cavity. The outer intercostal muscles relax, which also lowers the chest. The abdominal muscles pull in again and the lungs contract again.

Also exciting:Animal Athletics - back to powerful movement resources!

Expansion of the amplitude of movement

Through the physical effects of breathing described above, through our breathing we can:


Determine the focus of the exercise - in which direction am I moving?


Expand the Range of Motion - where do I breathe?

Extension, straighten up = inhale

Flexion, contracting = exhaling

Deepen the stretch = exhale

Bring length in one direction of movement = inhale

Opening rotations = inhale

Closing rotations = exhale

Also read:Fascia yoga - gently relax the connective tissue with simple exercises

Sun salutation as an example (see video)

The sun salutation is probably the best-known sequence of exercises in yoga. Every movement is carried out in connection with breathing, so there is a constant change between expansion (becoming large and wide) and contraction (becoming small, lowering).


Author: Katharina Brinkmann

Book tip from the Trainingsworld editorial team:

Yoga fascia training

Yoga fascia training

Our connective tissue, also called fascia, is a fine network that surrounds our muscles and organs and stabilizes our body. If you want to go through life fit, flexible and pain-free, you should do something for your fascia, because these become matted and sticky with increasing age with one-sided stress. This makes us immobile and rigid. Yoga is ideal fascia training. Compared to gentle, but also active yoga styles, yoga fascia training holds the positions longer in order to release blockages in the energy pathways and to stretch the muscles and the deeper connective tissue. Compared to the rather gentle Yin Yoga, this book follows a dynamic and invigorating approach. The exercises listed here serve to strengthen and stabilize the core of the body, a central element in yoga. This improves posture overall and prevents back pain from occurring in the first place. With its extensive catalog of exercises and a sun salutation optimally adapted to the fascia, the fascia salutation, this book is the ideal companion to train the connective tissue with yoga exercises and to remain supple, flexible and injury-free for a lifetime.

Here you can the book right here in the shop or via Amazon to order.