Benefits of Breathing Properly
Breathing is nature’s super food and it’s absolutely free!
Breathing properly can help calm the mind, reduce stress and improve your immune system. It can also:
- Reduce blood pressure
- Improve circulation (and help reduce wrinkles due to increased blood flow)
- Aid the digestive system and detoxification
- Increase concentration and the ability to make decisions
- Make you feel good
Millie, one of my yoga students, has told me that soon after starting YogaGrin Chair Yoga classes she stopped having to use Ventolin. She also said that the yoga classes have improved her mental well being and make her feel really good.
Simply amazing. This is why I love teaching and practicing yoga. It’s so good for you 🙂
By regularly breathing properly you too can improve your state of mind and your overall health.
So why don’t we breathe properly naturally? Isn’t breathing something you just do, without thinking about?
Breathing is natural, and is something you wouldn’t normally think about. Just like you don’t think about your heart beating, or dilating your pupils in the dark.
Unfortunately, day to day living can have an impact on how you breathe, and it’s not always good for you.
Are you Breathing Properly?
To determine if you are breathing properly think about how you feel right now. Be honest with yourself. Do you feel calm? Relaxed? Stressed? Tired? Wired? What?
Now, without changing anything, focus on how you are breathing.
Does your chest or your tummy rise first?
Is your breath long or short?
Is your breath deep on the inhale and short on the exhale?
Is your breath nice and smooth as you breathe in and when you breathe out, or is it a bit jerky in places?
Are you breathing through your nose or your mouth?
Are you slumped over reading this or is your back nice and straight?
All of these things have an impact on how much oxygen you are getting, and what chemicals are being triggered by your brain.
If your chest rises first and your breath is fairly short, then you may not be giving your body enough oxygen. You may feel light headed sometimes, and anxious.
If your inhale is deep and audible, and your exhale is short and out through your mouth, then you may feel angry a lot of the time, and you may have lower back problems.
Chances are, if you are suffering from one or more of the following you are not breathing properly:
- post traumatic stress
- shortness of breath
- blurred vision
- memory problems
- fuzzy thinking
- unnecessary worry
- dizziness. or
- just a general feeling of being unwell
How to Breathe Properly
When you were born, if you had a normal birth you didn’t have any worries and you breathed properly, naturally. Nice deep breathing through the belly. In and out through the nose. Check this the next time you see a young baby.
Unfortunately, as we grow older our posture and breathing change due to the lifestyle we lead and the different pressures or traumas we face.
For example, if you are an office worker chances are you sit hunched over a computer desk all day, and are perhaps under different levels of stress depending on your workload and the personality of your boss. Over time this can lead to rounded shoulders, a sore neck and back, headaches, an incorrect breathing pattern, and health issues.
Fortunately though, once you are aware of the negative impacts of incorrect breathing, you can change it and help improve your well being.
Some professions teach correct breathing as part of their training. This helps employees to stay focused and calm in stressful situations. For example, airline pilots and cabin staff, armed forces, rescue workers, and security officers.
Breathing is also one method used to help returning soldiers overcome post traumatic stress.
When you breathe correctly you are giving your body the chance to heal itself.
To take advantage of nature’s free super food try this short, simple breathing exercise. Find yourself a nice comfortable sitting or lying position and follow the instructions on this audio track. Enjoy 🙂
You can also download the simple exercise (PowerPoint) or read the text below:
- Sit or lie down and make yourself comfortable
- Adjust yourself so that you feel a little more comfortable
- Bring your awareness to your breath. Breathe in and out through your nose if you can
- Make your exhale the same length of time as your inhale
- Breath deep into your belly
- Place your left hand on your chest and your right hand on your belly
- As you breathe in, feel your right hand rise as your belly inflates
- Continue to draw the breath in and feel your left hand rise as your chest inflates
- Keep breathing in until you are completely full
- Notice a slight pause at the top of the breath before you start breathing out
- As you breathe out feel your left hand soften as your chest deflates
- Feel your right hand soften as your belly deflates
- Go again. Take another breath in. Feel the breath with your hands
- Nice and deep and even on the inhale through the nose, and nice and deep and even on the exhale through the nose
- Nothing forced. Just nice and natural
- Notice your state of mind. Notice how much calmer you feel
Try the breathing exercise anytime you feel stressed or anxious, or even if you are just standing in a queue. It will help you relax and return to a place of peace and calm.
I hope you’ve enjoyed this simple exercise and have gotten something out of it.
Imagine how you would feel if you could breathe like that all the time? With awareness you can do that.
Imagine if we taught our kids to breathe properly and meditate when they were stressed or anxious. Imagine if this exercise was taught in schools? How much better would the world be once this became a habit for them? Read my previous blog and share if you agree that meditation should be taught in schools.
Please leave your comments here or contact us with your feedback.
Have a great day. Namaste.