The power and benefits of deep breathing

Breath and water are two things we humans cannot live without. We are made up of 70% water. The earth is made up of 70% water. We are a part of Mother Earth and we breathe like she does. Watch the waves as they roll up on the shore. That is her inhale. When she exhales the waves recede.

Our breath should mimic that of Mother Earth. When you inhale, let your belly, diaphragm and lungs rise and fill with fresh, renewed energy. When you exhale, let your lungs, diaphragm and belly fall, getting rid of all the old, stale energy you no longer need.

There are many benefits of deep breathing. Deep breathing cleanses and circulates our bloodstream. It increases our energy levels; it carries nutrients through the body; energizes our organs and muscles; helps us to think more clearly and exercise and move more efficiently. Deep breathing also helps to calm our nerves and mind and it gets rid of old energy that no longer serves us, detoxifying and releasing toxins.

When we are stressed we usually tend to take quick, shallow breaths which result in tiredness, anxiety, increased blood pressure and heart rate and irritability. Learning to breathe properly will lower your heart rate and blood pressure, relax the body and mind and lower the level of stress hormones in your body.

An example from the animal world would be the turtle and the rat. A turtle breathes and moves slowly and lives a long life. A rat breathes and moves quickly and lives a much shorter life.

Here are some breathing exercises you can try,

Abdominal Breathing

Benefits: Relaxes the entire body, slows down heart rate and blood pressure, massages abdominal organs, improves respiration

Begin in a relaxed position, either laying down or sitting up. Bring your awareness to your breathing, noticing any tension in the body or breath and begin to let it go. Thoughts will come through – acknowledge them, then let them go. Relax your body, relax your face, keep your mouth closed and eyes, too, if you wish.

Inhale through your nose, allowing your breath to fall deep into the body so you feel your abdomen and chest rise, as you exhale through your nose, feel the chest and abdomen lower.

Allow the length of your inhales to match the length of your exhales. Your breathing will become rhythmic like the waves of the ocean flowing in and out.

5 Count Breath

Benefits: Relaxes the body & mind, increases oxygen in the body

Begin in a relaxed position, either laying down or sitting up. As in abdominal breathing, bring your awareness to your breath, releasing tension and acknowledging thoughts before letting them go. Again, relax your body and face, close your mouth your eyes, if you wish.

Inhale through your nose for the count of 5. Feel your belly, lungs and chest rise. Hold for the count of 5, then exhale slowly through your nose for the count of 5.

Repeat 5 times.

The New Guide to Relaxation. Paragon Publishing.
East to West Yoga: Yoga Exercise Certificate Course Manual by Susie Dias

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