Breathing is an essential part of life. Obviously. Without air we cannot live. But do you know how to breathe correctly?
My workplace had a wonderful start to a professional development day where we were all instructed on how to remain calm and stress free (well less stress) by learning how to breathe.
You are thinking mediation and yoga right?
We can’t just breathe our way through life. Yes it is automatic, however if we can retrain our methods of breathing we can do much more for our body than just fill our lungs with air. Air is essential for fuelling our whole body system. Once our lungs receive the oxygen, it is passed through the bronchiole into our blood. The freshly oxygenated blood is then distributed around our body to maintain the various organs. We consume food and water to fuel our body, but have you really thought about what air can do for you?
Physiologically it can:
- Increase the oxygen flow in your body
- Reduce stress and anxiety
- Help you to relax easier
- Improve focus and concentration
- Boost your energy levels
and Psychologically it:
- Brings inner peace
- Helps you stay positive
- Reduces your criticism
- Calms your mind
I agree that correct breathing is very helpful from a physiological point of view. Having had 4 children, the importance of rhythmic breathing during labour was beneficial. It raises the natural pain relief your body produces (called endorphins) and I found that the more I focussed on breathing, the less I noticed the pain.
How many times have you been in a stressful situation, or very anxious or angry even, and you’ve said to yourself, Breathe, just Breathe?
Because you know it helps, right?
There have been many occasions during various domestic abuse situations where I have said that to myself, and I know that if I had of known how to do it better, I would’ve have breathed myself silly!
Breathing exercises are best done in the morning, to prepare yourself for the day. You will definitely be less critical of other drivers on the way to work if you do!
Start by sitting with your legs crossed, with your spine straight, your shoulders in line with your hips and your hands casually placed over your knees. Posture is important. Our instructor said its great to sit on a yoga block or a rolled up towel, so your hips are rotated forward and you are sitting on your bones not on your buttocks.
Close your eyes and try and clear your mind.
Breathe in through your nose, and fill up your abdomen, meaning breathe in so your belly moves out, not your chest. Try for a count of 5.
Exhale through the nose, for a count of 5 as well.
Keep doing this for a few sets, then try extending the length of the exhale. The instructor explained that we are clearing more of the bad energy/negative feelings out if we exhale longer, and will feel more positive about our day.
The more often you do breathing exercises, the more control you will have within yourself.
I will Empower Myself. So can you.
DISCLAIMER: I am not a medical practitioner, nor trained in any sort of meditation or relaxation techniques. For more information, consult your doctor or attend a yoga session or two!