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Why Is Our Breath Fast and Shallow?

There are several reasons for this. The major reasons are:

We are in a hurry most of the time. Our movements and breathing follow this pattern.

The increasing stress of modern living makes us breathe more quickly and less deeply.

We get too emotional too easily. We get excited easily, angry easily, and most of the rest of the time we suffer from anxiety due to worry. These negative emotional states affect the rate of breathing, causing it to be fast and shallow.

Modern technology and automation reduces our need for physical activity. There is less need to breathe deeply, so we develop the shallow breathing habit.

We are working indoors more and more. This increases our exposure to pollution. As a result, the body instinctively inhales less air to protect itself from pollution. The body just takes in enough air to tick over.

As we go through life, these bad breathing habits we picked up become part of our life. Unless we do something to reverse these habits, we can suffer permanent problems. The good news is that these are reversible. The bad news is that before we can change these habits, we should recognize and accept that our behavior needs to be changed. This means that we see for ourselves the benefits of good breathing techniques.

Certainly, yoga is not the only way to cope up with the stress and the resultant drop in oxygen supply to the brain brought on by the constricted breathing. A smoke, a coffee break, a trip to the restroom or a good laugh may all result in some readjustment of constricted breathing patterns. These can be thought of as "mini-yogas". We can benefit by taking or seeking more smokes, breaks, trips or jokes. But for those whose occupations continue to be highly stressful, something more will be needed. Deep breathing exercises and stretching of muscles, especially those primarily concerned with controlling inhaling and exhaling, should be sought. Participation in active sports also will be useful. Going for a walk is very good. For those experiencing restricted breathing at night, morning exercises should be actively pursued.
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