It's a great question. But do we breathe properly? We go through our day without giving breathing a second thought even though it's something we do about 20,000 times a day.
The way you breathe can affect you physically and mentally. Proper breathing can relax the body, reduce stress and calm the nervous system. It can also help with panic attacks and depression. Without enough oxygen coming in the body we can feel tired or fatigued due to the reduced amount of nutrients carried in the blood.
With proper breathing you're bringing in more oxygen that helps build your immune system to fight infections and illnesses. A long slow smooth breath will balance the flow of oxygen and CO2 which will prevent hyperventilating.
Since I've really focused on my own breathing about two years ago I noticed an immediate increase in energy. So I make sure I check in with myself every now and then to see how I'm breathing.
Many Yoga Teachers including myself tell our students, never sacrifice the breath for the pose, that's how important breathing is.
Your belly should rise and fall as you breathe and the upper chest and collar bones should not be moving or moving ever so slightly. If you watch a sleeping baby breathe you will notice the belly rising and falling not the chest. They eventually adopt our bad habits.
For more information on breathing click on Breathing.
Happy & Healthy,Yoga Chuck