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

Attention to your breath – is it boring?

breatheYou may know that many meditation and relaxation techniques ask you to pay attention to your breath.  When I started doing this, I sure found it b-o-r-i-n-g!  Not to mention I found it difficult to sustain it for more than 30 seconds. I even dropped doing it for awhile, but since I went back to that practice, I have found the peace that experts and sages have been talking about.

Simply focusing on your breath, paying attention to each inhalation and exhalation, and riding the waves of your breath is not only very relaxing, but it helps to take your attention away from whatever may be bothering you.  If nothing is bothering you, it gives you a sense of feeling how alive you are. It’s being in the moment. It is available to you at any time, anywhere.

I like to follow the author named Dr. Rick Hanson. He has a newsletter that is simple, makes sense, and is very helpful. It’s called ‘JOT’ (Just One Thing), and offers very simple techniques and perspectives that help cultivate joy in your life.

Don’t underestimate the power of the breath. It gives you life, and it brings you back to who you are.

Bring yourself to the present moment by regularly focusing on your breath.

~Wendy