How Changing Your Breathing Can Change Your Life (INFOGRAPHIC)

08/09/2013 02:00 pm ET | Updated Nov 11, 2013

The best way to calm down is so innate to our lives, we often take it for granted: Taking a breath.

Focusing on your own breathing can have a significant impact on your well-being and stress levels, and can even create physiological changes like lowering your blood pressure. But for many of us, when it comes to improving our health, changing our breathing somehow doesn’t spring to mind as readily as changing our diet or exercise habits.

"We take our breath for granted the way we take our heart beat for granted," Carla Ardito, a breathing expert at Manhattan's Integral Yoga Institute and creator of the Breathing Lessons app, told The Huffington Post. "The difference is we can work on our breathing."

And there’s plenty of precedent. For thousands of years, the yogic practice of pranayama (Sanskrit for "extension of the life-force") has been used as a method geared towards reducing stress and healing the body and mind through targeted breathing exercises.

Check out the infographic below for seven health benefits of focusing on your breathing.

Infographic by Jan Diehm for the Huffington Post.

This story appears in Issue 66 of our weekly iPad magazine, Huffington, in the iTunes App store, available Friday, Sept. 13.

Also on HuffPost:

10 Of The Best Yoga Poses For Sleep

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