Finding your breath
Breathing Space is an opportunity to pause, relax, or decide what to do next" we all need to find breathing space during our working week.
Although its the most important thing we do, we don't often think about focusing on our breathing yet it could be the most significant act of self-care; our breath keeps us alive after all, shallow breathing (breath that comes from your chest, not your diaphragm) can really elevate your stress levels too.
Have you ever noticed when your stressed, anxious or afraid you breathe short and shallow breaths but when we feel happy and calm our breath is full and relaxed?
A proper breathing technique is crucial for optimal health and yet most of us aren’t getting it right – and by right I mean using diaphragmatic breathing (also known as horizontal breathing). Awareness of the importance of the breath is shared by many ancient warrior traditions and all the way through from meditating monks to yoga practitioners. They all use variations of these techniques to improve health, bring focus to the mind, control their physical responses and improve performance when under pressure. We all sit more than is healthy and normal for the human body, often slouched over computers or desks, our lungs are squashed and it’s hard to push out our stomach or to fill the lower lobes of our lungs. We can be under constant stress and tension with work and busy lives. We tend to breathe shallow and fast, and this exacerbates the problem and poor habits become ingrained.
Benefits of daily breath-focused practice
1. Relieves anxiety, stress and tension in the body.
2. It helps with our psychological state and regulates emotions.
3. It can help stop panic attacks and lower stress levels.
4. Brings our heart rate into a range that’s conducive to optimal cognitive and physical performance.
5. It helps detoxify the body.
6. It helps to optimally oxygenate the body and all its organs to allow us to heal better and live longer.
7. It leads to greater inner peace, focus and mind and thought control.
8. It boosts athletes’ performance as it helps them to control their physiological and psychological reactions to stress.
9. It strengthens the important diaphragm muscle, which tends to weaken as we get older.
10. Breathing into the stomach or using the diaphragm activates the calming receptors situated there and activates the parasympathetic nervous system.
11. Using the diaphragm muscle helps massage and move the inner organs and aids digestion and detoxification.
12. It helps you control your anger and fear so you can react appropriately.
Why not head to a class to learn stress-tackling techniques, check out one of our favorites Breathpod who's sessions teach you how to change the depth rhythm and rate of your breath to hack the messages transmitted from the neuropathways in the brain to transform stress to calm, reacting to responding and disagreement to balance. Happy Breathing!