Not very long ago I didn't totally understand how yoga really worked or how to achieve that wonderful state of mind they always talk about. But recently I had a realization or an epiphany of some sort where I suddenly understood how it all works. Basically, yoga boils down to meditation which boils down to mindfulness.
Mindfulness, not in the sense of just plain ol' being mindful of your actions, but as in being completely and totally and thoroughly aware of any given moment - completely tuned in to how your body feels. So essentially this is what meditation is, and yoga is just meditation with movement. I was so excited when I understood this because I had been longing for some beautiful meditative sessions where I actually felt that inner peacefulness without getting restless or let down. It's all so simple now. Mindfulness.
When it comes to the breathing, the poses and breathing go hand in hand; and it should come naturally - when you breathe in, you should naturally feel the urge to raise your arms and stretch or bend forward and feel your spine. When you breathe out you should naturally feel the urge to lower your arms or whichever movement you feel is right for you in that moment. Lovely lovely lovely.