Breath. Such a simple thing. It’s essential to life, but yet how often do we think about it? It ebbs and flows throughout our days and we barely give it a second thought. September is Healthy Lung Month and we’re going to look at some ways our breath improves our health – including some techniques you can utilize today.
Deep breathing can reduce anxiety
Implementing a deep breathing technique when anxiety strikes can make the difference between a full on attack and an unwelcome blip in your day. Deep breathing lowers your heart rate, improves circulation and promotes clearer thinking.
You can use your breath to calm down
Let’s face it, when tempers flair it seems almost impossible to think about anything other than the current situation that set you off. Practicing simple breathing techniques can encourage calmness and help reverse the physical symptoms of anger.
TECHNIQUE for Anxiety and Calm
- Isolate yourself from everyone for 15 minutes
- Inhale slowly for the count of 4
- Exhale slowly for the count of 8
- Notice the space in between the inhalation and exhalation
- Repeat until you begin to calm down
Take breathing even deeper with pranayama
Pranayama is the practice of using the breath to soothe an active mind. If practiced right, pranayama can bring harmony between mind, body and spirit. It boosts your ability to be mentally and spiritually strong. There are very specific breathwork techniques that are outside the scope of this article, but we recommend reading up and finding a good teacher.
Use with meditation
Breathwork can be a fantastic addition to your mindfulness or meditation practice. It can allow us to open our hearts and our minds. It has been said that it can move stuck energy as well.
TECHNIQUE for Pranayama and Meditation
- Quiet your body and mind
- Observe your breath as it is
- Slow your breathing to a calm steady level
- Concentrate on the air that moves in and out of your lungs
- Focus on how your body feels and moves as you inhale and exhale
Much like massage, there is no doubt that breathing can encourage relaxation and healthy habits. It keeps the body/mind functioning and curbs stress. Your muscles naturally relax and you can go about your day a little easier.
Breathing may seem insignificant. It happens naturally, so we may not think about breathing all that much, but maybe it’s time we should.