Deep breathing relaxes the mind and body

meditator breathing

Your breath gives you life

If you haven’t heard of the great benefits of deep breathing, it’s worth learning about this.

The practice of deep breathing stimulates our parasympathetic nervous system (PNS), responsible for activities that occur when our body is at rest. It functions in opposite to the sympathetic nervous system, which stimulates activities associated with the flight-or-fight response.

By voluntarily changing the rate, depth, and pattern of your breathing, you can change the messages being sent from the body’s respiratory system to the brain. In this way, breathing techniques provide a portal to the autonomic communication network through which you can, by changing your breathing patterns, send specific messages to the brain using the language of the body, a language the brain understands and to which it responds. Messages from the respiratory system have rapid, powerful effects on major brain centers involved in thought, emotion, and behavior.

In this Huffington Post article Get a Hold of Yourself: 3 Kinds of Breathing, it teaches 3 kinds of deep breathing techniques.

  1. Coherent breathing – breathing slowly at a rate of five breaths per minute.  Simply count silently to yourself from one to five while inhaling, and the same count while exhaling. Changing the rate of your breath in this way maximizes the heart rate variability (HRV) and causes a shift in our nervous system.
  2. Resistance breathing – creating a resistance in the flow of air by pursing the lips, placing the tip of the tongue against the inside of the upper teeth, hissing through the clenched teeth, tightening the throat muscles, partly closing the glottis, narrowing the space between the vocal cords or using an external object such as breathing through a straw.
  3. Breath Moving – using your imagination to move your breath through your body.

There are so many types of breathing techniques, and for different purposes.  I do the coherent breathing because it simply feels good, it immediately relaxes me, and is easy to fit into my day.

Paying attention to your breath is a wonderful way to practice mindfulness as well.

In many traditions, the word ‘breath’ means the same a ‘spirit’.

Most of us hardly breathe at all. We hold our tension in the body and breathe shallowly.  Breathe!

Breathe, stay present, and enjoy life,

~Wendy

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6 thoughts on “Deep breathing relaxes the mind and body

  1. Pingback: Deep Breathe to Relax Body and Mind | The Soulicious Life

    • Hi Kim, thanks for reposting to your blog! I love your post about breathing.
      A long time ago I learned that the word ‘breath’ in many ancient languages means ‘spirit’. Once I learned that, I more consciously paid attention to my breath and breathing.

      Have a great day!
      ~Wendy

  2. In addition to breathing, I would mention that general physical relaxation is important to reduce stress and maintain a good health. I would also add that breathing exercises can also be done while walking, not necessarily during a meditation session. I liked this article. http://johnvespasian.blogspot.com

    • Hello John, thank you for your additional comment. I entirely agree. Our bodies cannot be in a chronic state of stress and maintain good health. And yes, opportunities for breathing exercises can be found many times throughout the day. It’s great, and doesn’t cost a cent 🙂

      Thank you,
      ~Wendy

  3. Hello Wendy,
    I totally agree about breathing.
    However, an ever greater skill to develop is to only allow positive thoughts into our mind.
    Rajyoga meditation has tought me how to stay positive, no matter what is going around me.
    We could meet one day, and share.
    Regards and best wishes,
    Arun

    • Hi Arun,
      The wonderful thing is that there are many skills and tools to help us create a positive experience in life. The trick for people is to make a conscious decision to do so. How wonderful that you have found something that works well for you.
      Thanks Arun,

      ~Wendy

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