Before we started her yoga session a few months ago Arianna informed me that "her doctor told her that she doesn't breathe" and could we take five minutes to show her how!
Breathing is certainly important. We can survive weeks without food, days without water, but mere minutes without breathing. There was an old Indian Swami in Los Angeles in the 70's who claimed that he could hold his breath for 20 minutes. Well he couldn't. He was tested by scientists in a lab at UCLA and determined that even though he had unbelievable breath control, he was nonetheless taking very, very small breaths. Much like most of us do!
But what Swami Nadabrahmananda was doing, unlike most of us, was breathing with awareness. The first step in improving your breathing is to become aware of it. Constantly. It's not enough to be aware of your breathing while practicing yoga, working out or going for a run. You also need to check in with your breathing the rest of the day. Many times when we could use some really good breathing - we are unconsciously holding our breath.
There are many excellent techniques that can teach you how to improve your breathing, but the most important is to be AWARE.