Chuck Miller, a master ashtanga teacher, used to remind us,
as we moved from pose to pose, sometimes grunting, sometimes holding our breath, "It's all just a breathing exercise."
Meaning, the practice of yoga asana, is just a breathing exercise.
As you move from pose to pose, you try to keep the breath turning steady, smooth and even.
The rhythm of the breath is paramount.
Ask any distance runner. Or cyclist.
Swimmer. Or scuba diver.
The breath sets a rhythm like a steady metronome, keeping time with our continual flowing movements.
In yoga, the breath is called prana.
Here's how Champion Pro Surfer Rochelle Ballard describes witnessing the beauty of prana in fellow Champion Kelly Slater.
"The first time I became aware
of how important the breath is
was by watching Kelly Slater…If you watch Kelly as he takes off -
his inhalation RISES him to standing."
-- Rochelle Ballard