Cellular Breathing

Understanding the importance of our breath is a key part of any successful yoga practice. In my class on the breath, I share lots of information about the physiology of breathing and how yoga’s breathing techniques actually change the body’s inner chemistry.

One key area to understand is cellular respiration, and particularly how oxygen and glucose are metabolized into units of energy called adenosine triphosphate (ATP).  This is the energy you use to climb a flight of stairs! Apparently our cells have several methods of converting glucose into energy, depending on whether oxygen is available or not. In short, more ATP, or energy molecules, are generated when oxygen is present – 34 molecules to be exact. So when we breathe shallowly, and are not providing as much oxygen to our blood, cells resorts to glycolysis which produces only 2 molecules. So, more oxygen, more energy.

This is a very simplified explanation of something that is far more complex. And it’s important – especially for cancer patients – to understand what’s happening in the body and how we benefit when we engage in yoga practices.

If any medical practitioner or researcher would like to add to this discussion, in layman’s terms, please contact me.

Now let’s all take a big breath!

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About Michelle

Michelle Stortz, C-IAYT, RYT500, MFA, is a certified yoga therapist specializing in yoga for cancer and chronic illness. She teaches in numerous medical settings throughout the Philadelphia area. Her teaching is augmented by her studies in meditation and Buddhism and her involvement with the Springboard Meditation Sangha. She leads retreats and group classes and works with individuals in private sessions.
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