Take a deep breath

Pranayama - Yoga breathing exercises could improve listening and reading comprehension and reduce foreign language learning anxiety
November 4th, 2022

Breathing is an essential part of life. Probably in everyday routine your breath is short and shallow and you do not pay attention to it, how you breath. But breath is the beginning and vital part of your existence throughout life.

Have you ever considered how important is breathing in language learning? The pace and intervals of breath could affect speaking. Once practised you might realize its positive effect on formulating your thoughts and sentences in a foreign language.

Learning a new language might be accompanied not only with pleasure and glory. Unfortunately, we face also those gloomy moments of anxiety, being unable to utter a word. Instead of missing a class or worrying, try deep breathing.

One, two – inhale through the nose

One, two, three, four – exhale through the nose

Repeat it at least five times.

Longer exhales calm down your mind and bring focus on a present moment. The more one practises, the faster the calm state of mind is reached. At the end those, who regularly do Yoga and Pranayama (prana - life energy and yama - disciplining oneself) exercises, might observe less anxiety during learning.*

Moreover, deep breathing can help producing the right sound in a second language.

According to Christi Barb respiratory patterns differ across languages. “How many breaths you take, where you take a breath (and how deeply), and how many syllables you produce between breaths differ among languages,” underlines Christi. **It can be trained according to the language one learns.

Breathing can alter pitch, pace, meaning and volume of voice and speech, creating those positive effects like being heard, understood and leaving the right impression.

The value of breathing in language learning is reinforced by positive psychology and yoga. A group of 70 students took part in a research practising Yoga Pranayama exercises - Nadi Shodhana Pranayama and Bhramari Pranayama for 7 weeks. It showed remarkable results, reducing foreign language learning anxiety. It positively affected students’ listening and reading comprehension, providing better concentration abilities.***

Take a deep breath. It’s worth it.

Book a meeting with me to learn Pranayama exercises.

*Schindler, G. (2021). Dissertation. How Far Can Movement Improve L2 Learning Experience For Adults. University of Southampton

** Barb Ch. (2021) How Do You Breathe In Your Language?


*** Tasan M., Mede E. and Sadeghi K. (2021) The Effect of Pranayamic Breathing as a Positive Psychology Exercise on Foreign Language Learning Anxiety and Test Anxiety Among Language Learners at Tertiary Level. https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fpsyg.2021.742060/full

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