Breathe! It’s easy, it’s fun and it’s free! Our breath maybe one of the most important qualifiers and indicators of health and wellness. Taking deep rhythmic breaths has proven to reduce stress and anxiety. Lately I’ve found myself reminding friends and family to breathe deeply. When we have blockages in our body, for instance sore back and neck, muscle spasms, pain, etc often times it can be attributed to a lack of and healed with proper breathing.
Breathing is one of the few bodily functions that can be controlled both consciously and unconsciously. On average we breath about 17,000 times a day, yet much of the time, they are shallow, unconscious breaths.
Conscious breathing is the basis for meditation and can make a huge difference in our health and well being. When we aren’t consciously breathing we can sometimes even hold our breath because we’re anxious, feeling stressed, worried, lost in thought, etc. I went through a time in my life when I was extremely unhappy and unhealthy and for the most part, I held my breath and feel that it contributed to my ill health. Now, sometimes I have to remind myself to breathe, especially when doing mundane tasks like the laundry or dishes or when I’m in sticky situations and having uncomfortable conversations. When I realize I’m holding my breath, I breathe in, deeply and loudly and it feels so good!
Deep breathing is healing because it lets in much needed oxygen to our cells and brains. It gives us a pause, a brief moment of reflection, it’s something we do alone and only for ourselves. So it’s a way we can simply nourish and enrich ourselves and we need to do more of it. What I like to do, short of actually sitting in meditation is just every once in a while when I think of it, take a few deep breaths, in through the nose, out through the mouth. If you’re feeling stressed or anxious, take a special time out for yourself to breath deeply:
- Sit in a relaxed position and focus on your breathing.
- Take a deep breath in through your nose for 8 to 10 counts to fill your lungs (or however many is comfortable).
- Hold for one count when the lungs are full,
- Then exhale, breathe out through your mouth the same number of counts.
- Repeat 10 times.
- Think of your breath as a circle or cycle going in and out, in through your nose, out through your mouth.
- Don’t worry about how it sounds, or making noise. In fact, deep, loud breaths are intoxicating (and sexy!).
You can do this anytime to relax, reboot and destress. As you practice and it starts to feel second nature to breathe deeply you can add intention into your breathing. If you have pain in your back, or are worried about something, you can focus on that, focus on breathing life into the situation, focus your breath on healing. I firmly believe it works and as Dr. Andrew Weil says, “Practicing regular, mindful breathing can be calming and energizing and can even help with stress-related health problems ranging from panic attacks to digestive disorders.” It’s true, our breath maybe one of the most important qualifiers and indicators of health and wellness. Most of us take breathing for granted, it’s time to be mindful about it. It’s easy, it’s fun and it’s free!