One of the most important and beneficial aspects of practicing yoga is its breathing exercises or pranayama. But even if it is beneficial to your mind and body, you still need to seek professional advice before engaging in it especially if you have breathing problems such as asthma or shortness of breath.

Pranayama is not intended to make you hold your breath for as long as you want. It is about controlling your breath to make it relaxed, smoother and beneficial to your brain and body. You should make it an enjoyable and relaxing experience.

Here are some of the most common guiding principles of yoga breathing:

1. You need to relax before practicing pranayama. You should not do it if you are upset or tired.

2. Pranayama is meant to put you in a relaxed state. When you do it, you should not push yourself to the point of exhaustion.

3. Pranayama is a serious exercise. It should not be mechanical.

4. The exercises associated with pranayama are best done without the element of haste. You need to take time while performing them.

5. You should focus on the exercises that you perform when doing yoga.

6. Put some variety in your exercises and change them once in a while. You also need to bear in mind that these exercises should always be gentle and non violent.

7. Your breathing should always be regular, smooth and continuous.

8. One of the most important goals of pranayama is to make your breathing achieve the degree of smoothness that can make you relaxed and fully oxygenated. If you are practicing yoga breathing exercises and you come to a point in which your breath becomes rough or uneven, you need to stop and relax. Give yourself some time to allow your breathing to return to its normal pace.

9. While yoga breathing is meant to be beneficial, there are some breathing exercises which may induce dizziness or make you faint. If you happen to feel these symptoms in your practice, you should stop immediately and try to relax. Assume a different position that can make you more comfortable.

10. Always practice pranayama in a place where the air is fresh and clean. Always see to it that the atmosphere is free from smoke or chemicals which emit harmful vapors that can cause damage to your lungs.

11. Room temperature is the ideal temperature for practicing yoga breathing exercises. Doing it in a place that’s extremely low or hot may affect the regularity of your breathing.

These are some of the principles that can help to make your breathing smooth and effective when doing pranayama. You can try them, but it is always best to do it with a yoga instructor. It can help to make you execute your exercises effectively.