Have you ever noticed your breathing when you are feeling stressed, anxious, scared, angry, or while crying? If not, I encourage you to begin to bring your awareness to your breath under distressing situations. There are many mind-body benefits to breathing exercises that promote harmony, health, and balance. Deep breathing exercises uses the belly to deepen the breath. Shallow breathing, which you most likely experience under the above mentioned situations, you tend to suck in the belly and raise the shoulders. As a result, this causes additional emotional, psychological, physical, and spiritual tension. Breathing is unconscious. Deep breath work is conscious and can teach you how to improve your breathing even while under stress.
I know from my own personal experience the natural and immediate benefits to breath work. Here is a list of my top 10 reasons for using deep breathing.
1. Deep breathing calms the sympathetic nervous system. The sympathetic nervous system is activated in times of stress and anxiety. It is where the brain tells the body to prepare for the fight or flight response. Deep breathing will slow your heart rate down and in a matter of seconds your breath will communicate to your brain there is no danger which relaxes your muscles.
2. Breathing lifts mood. Breathing raises levels of endorphins and lowers stress hormones.
3. Breathing brings clarity and mindfulness to your mind-body connection. Practicing mindfulness breathing, you can increase clarity of where you hold your emotions and tension in your body. With practice, you can learn to breath into the tense areas of your body and areas where you hold your pain and release them out with every exhale.
4. Breathing boosts energy and stamina. The more oxygen in the body, the more level of energy you will have.
5. Breathing increases oxygen in your blood.
6. Breathing strengthens the immune system.
7. Breathing can release toxins in your body by 70%. When you exhale, you are releasing carbon dioxide waste which has passed through your bloodstream into your lungs. The other 30% is released through the bowels and bladder.
8. Promotes better sleep.
9. Reduction in blood pressure.
10. Breathing normalizes the heart rate and rhythm.
Practice daily or almost daily for about 5 minutes: 1. Lie comfortably on your back, arms resting beside you. 2. Bring your awareness to your breath. 3. Inhale through the nose and breath out through your mouth. 4. Feel your belly rising and chest lifting (image or sense the breath trying to reach the sky) and on the exhale, emptying the breath. Naval center moving towards the spine. 5. Even letting out a nice sigh on the exhale. 6. Allow your breath to be deep and be mindful of the sensations your breath brings to your body. 7. Repeat the inhale and exhale cycles 3 times. You will begin to sense a lighter and more relaxed mood! Let me know your thoughts.