"Take a deep breath....."
We offer this advice when someone is overly excited or anxious. We recognise breath as a way to calm mind and emotions. Breath is a powerful tool to promote well-being. It is literally right under our nose. Yet we don't pay much attention to the breath.
Using breath to enhance well-being is an effective practice. It can be done sitting at a traffic lights or in a quiet room. Daily breathing practice is both powerful and healing. Immediate benefits result for body, mind and spirit.
In day-to-day life, we are overrun with multitasking, but we are also completely out of touch with our natural breathing patterns. Modern humans tend to take shallow, uneven breaths, using merely 15% of lung capacity.
In addition, short, shallow, and fast breathing tells the brain that we are in a desperate situation, ‘fight or flight’ mode while corresponding hormones are released as a result.
If one wishes to bring balance and inner peace in such circumstances we should become aware of our breathing and start to slow things down....
Simple breath awareness is one of the simplest forms of meditation, but it is also one of the most significant.
Take your attention to the diaphragm moving and pushing the tummy out on the inhale and, without jerking, the diaphragm muscle relaxing and tummy returning through the exhale. This is simple abdominal breathing. See if you can deepen breathing more of the belly moves and less of the chest. To help relax the nerves, breath through the nose and slightly constrict your throat muscles so as you breathe out it sounds as if you are Darth Vader...
If you focus a few minutes each day on a regular basis you will notice your breath more in everyday situations. You will notice when it becomes ragged, or you are holding your breath. Awareness is the key.
Try to incorporate breath control into a day-to-day activity, taking a shower, a slow walk, cooking, listening to music, and while you are in the activity listen to your breathing.
Be aware what are you doing with your breath. Gradually over the days see if you can produce slower deeper breaths while maintaining the activity.
So the next time you find yourself in a state of confusion, anxiety, frustration or irritation whether in the office, on the road or at your local super market, etc. give yourself the gift of some deep tummy breaths to calm the body and mind.
We practice various breathing techniques at my yoga classes, you are welcome to come along and just breathe.