Just breathe. We hear that advice all the time and it’s a popular social media meme. But did you know that doing deep breathing exercises has numerous health benefits?

Deep breathing–also known as pranayama in yoga or diaphragmatic, abdominal, or belly breathing–is paced respiration that’s different from the way we unconsciously breathe. When you breathe deeply, the air coming in through your nose fully fills your lungs, and the lower belly rises.

Deep breathing can have a “profound impact” on our health, Mladen Golubic, a physician in the Cleveland Clinic’s Center for Integrative Medicine, told NPR in an interview. He said deep breathing can even help people with asthma and pulmonary issues.

Medical professionals emphasize deep breathing is not a replacement for conventional medicine, however, the practice can help alleviate pain and some disease symptoms.

An article in the Times of India points out these benefits:

Yoga breathing or pranayama is the foundation of yoga practice. When you work your breathing hand in hand with the asanas, you will experience your practice on a deeper level.

If you’re not used to paying attention to your breath, it’s easy to start and you can do it anywhere. Just take a moment, and become aware of your breath. Notice the air going in and out of your nostrils and lungs. Notice the rise and fall of your abdomen and chest. Just this small attention to your breath will often naturally slow it down and bring about a sense of calm.

Practice breathing into your asanas at any of classes. The full class schedule is here.