How many times have you had someone say to you, hey take a minute, catch your breath, chill out and breathe?
Have you ever wondered why the first thing that we say to ourselves or to each other when we are stressed, overwhelmed and in a state is to take a breath?
Our breath is the first thing that we experience when we arrive in this life and the last thing that we experience when we leave this life. So to me its pretty damn important to our health and wellbeing.
We are infused with the Spirit of Breath, the Universe breathes life into us:
“breath” The word “spirit” derives from the word “breath,” (spiritus in Latin). Literally breath gives life.
Have you noticed that when things get tough your breath gets rough? You know that shallow quick breath, not really taking the breath fully into the chest or the belly. The normal respiration rate for an adult at rest is 12 to 20 breaths per minute. This is a general indication of how rapidly you may or not be breathing, for me I was less than 12 but I meditate everyday and I was feeling very settled at the time that I did this.
The breath is a tool that can be used for so many things in your life.
Taking 3 conscious breaths
Feel your breath as it moves in through your nostrils, notice the temperature of the air is it cool or is it warm?
Then follow that same breath into your body, where in your body does it flow to?
Does it flow into your chest or into your belly?
Now notice rise and fall of your chest or the expansion and contraction of your belly.
Now follow your breath all the way out of your body.
Doing this for as little as three rotations in and out brings you instantly out of the crazy mental mind activity and into the present moment.
Slowing your heart rate, deepening your breath.
Some amazing health benefits to deep breathing are:
- When you learn to breathe into their lower abdomen/gut you improve and calm your digestive system
Increases circulation of lymphatic fluid
Increases oxygen to the heart.
- Blood circulates, relieving congestion throughout the body.
Helps tissues to regenerate and heal.
- Creates more energy for the body to heal and detoxify.
- Anxiety can be reversed by deep-breathing habits.
- You may start to see balance in the two sides of the brain.
- Relieves muscle tension.
- Stress on organs is lessened, allowing the body to naturally cleanse.
- You become more “Present” resulting in Mental observation and concentration is improved, Greater productivity and learning.
- Better decision making.
- Beautiful looking skin, reduced signs of aging.
- Breathing deeply relaxes the body, reducing feelings of stress.
- Releases endorphins, natural painkillers that create a natural highs and easy sleep.
- Creates more awareness and self-love leading to a healthier life.
- Self-love can help to have greater compassion for others.
- Deepens meditation.
- Intuition increases when you’re relaxed.
- Creativity increases.
Having suffered severe anxiety throughout most of my life I can tell you exactly what shallow breathing has done for me first hand:
- Unable to catch my breath
- Numbing of the feet and hands
- Numbing of the face
- Unable to focus – loss of vision
- Panic Attack
- Chest tightening and pain
These are just a few of the effects on your body that shallow breathing has, primarily though shallow breathing causes your body to be in a constant state of stress the long term effects of which are not roses and potpourri.
It’s not rocket science right?
I know exactly which option I choose to take in my life and that is to get really friendly with my breath, to notice throughout the day what it is doing and how I am feeling.
Deep belly breathing or Diaphragm breathing is easy and simple to learn and is ideally our natural state of Being.
To practice breathing from your diaphragm, lie on your back with one hand on your stomach and one hand on your chest. Breathe in deeply while pushing out your stomach as far as you can. The hand on your stomach will move out and the hand on your chest will remain still. When you exhale, you will feel your stomach pulling back in. Both your chest and shoulders should stay relaxed and still.
To add a spiritual dimension to your overall wellbeing and happiness why not incorporate this little gem while practising any of the breathing techniques above.
- As you breathe in, imagine or visualise all of the blissful wonderful qualities in the Universe that you would like to bring more of into your life: Eg: Happiness, Love, Positivity, Abundance, Compassion, Gratitude, Joy, Fun, Excitement. Really feel the essence of these emotions as you breathe them deeply into your body, feel how your whole body fills with all of those qualities as your continue to breathe deeply.
- As you breathe out release anything that no longer serves you: Eg: Fear, envy, anger, criticism, old patterns, old hurts, judgment, unforgiveness, pain, suffering. Continue this for as long as you feel conformable and more than 5 minutes each day.
Your breath has the power to transform not only you but your life also.