Obviously we do it all the time….Our breath keeps us vital, is essential to our wellbeing and also has the capacity to change our physical, mental and emotional state, within minutes. However, most of us are not using our breath in the right way to get maximum benefits.
We go through life without really being conscious of our breathing, which is totally natural as it is an automatic part of our respiratory system. That said there is a great deal to be gained from bringing conscious awareness to the breath. When I started to become aware of my breathing (which was really shallow, and all from the chest) and consciously slow it down, it changed everything.
Benefits of a simple daily deep breathing exercise:
• Lower the heart rate
• Reduce cortisol in the body
• Calm the mind
• Relax the body
• Connect to the present moment
• Reduce tension throughout the body
• Improve lung function
• Improve blood flow
• Change your mood
• Detoxify the body
Try this simple deep breathing exercise, it takes just 3 minutes and you will notice a change in how you feel immediately.
3 minute breathing exercise:
• Sit comfortably with your back supported and straight, both feet on the ground. Place one hand on your stomach and one hand on your heart. This will give you a feeling of connection to your body and also ensure that you can feel your breath moving through your body.
• Next close your eyes and simply bring your awareness to your breathing, notice your inhale and exhale as it rises and falls naturally, feeling your inhale and releasing on the exhale.
• Notice how you are breathing – inhale breath should fill the diaphragm and cause the stomach to expand, exhale breath releases the air and you should feel the stomach release and fall.
• Now breathe in slowly taking a full breath, hold your breath for 5 seconds and then slowly release your breath. All through the nose. When I say release your breath, don’t push it out or force it out quickly, simply release it slowly like a tyre deflating.
• Do this for 3 minutes and notice how you feel.
Once I began to take notice of my breath and feel the benefits of deeper, more conscious breathing I found myself connecting to my breath more often and that had the lovely side effect of taking me out of my busy head. Now I use my breath as my anchor to relax my body and calm my mind, its so simple and it’s a tool I always have with me.