[Updated March 8, 2019] Ancient health practitioners in Ayurveda and traditional Chinese medicine considered breath (prana in the Vedic system and qi in TCM) so important to health that they developed very specific breathing exercises to ensure the effective intake of air energy. We in the West recognize breathing as essential, too, yet we take for granted that its only purpose is providing our “must-have” oxygen—and that’s far from the case. Western science has started to learn from Eastern tradition and…