Did you know the breathe is the bridge between the mind and the body? For over 5000 years the yogis have believed and taught the power and importance of deep mindful breathing called Pranayama. Having practiced and taught yoga for over 20 years I would love to pass on and share a handful of items I have learned along my journey.
Breathing is the foundation of the yoga practice and life. Focusing on our foundations is essential to living and feeling well, so with that being said – one of the very best activities you can possibly do for your health is to take 10 deep slow inhales and exhales through the nose or more until you feel a shift in your mind and or body. According to Dr. Marcelle Pick, breathing through your nose stimulates your parasympathetic nervous system and induces relaxation. Nose breathing also conditions your breath, filtering the air and adding moisture to your breath before it enters your lungs.
” The nose is for breathing, the mouth is for eating.”
Here I feel are a few facts to know about the benefits of deep mindful breathing.
1. 70% of toxins are released with proper breathing, cleaning our lungs – if not the toxins (carbon dioxide) do not get released.
2. Calms the mind to put us in the parasympathetic nervous system (rest and digest) – when we are stressed out the blood actually goes away from our brains and can cause us to make poor choices.
3. Improves brain function because of increasing the oxygen to the brain.
4. Help in the aid of getting to sleep easier – quiets the mind. (use the 4-7-8 breathing exercise)
5. Decreases anxiety and depression because of increasing the oxygen to the brain.
6. Decreases stress and regulates our bodies level of cortisol (the stress hormone)
7. Reduces pain and activation of pain centers in the brain, studies show that breathing into your pain helps to ease it.
I have found that if people know why and how a new tool they are going to add into their lives really works, they tend to actually stick with it and do it.
1. Start either sitting in a chair or on a bolster or lay down on the floor – do what makes your body comfortable and will not be distracted as easily.
2. Simply notice your breathing – not judging or controlling it – just breathe for a couple of minutes.
3. Next smooth your breathe out – see how gentle and even you can make it.
4. Relax your belly to soften and encourage your breathe to move throughout both your lungs and down to your abs.
5. Once this feels more natural then add the counting of how long you can increase your inhales and exhales.
6. Use the pauses in between your inhales and exhales to silence the mind. This my friends is where the magic happens.
7. Visualize a square in your mind and use your inhale and go up the right side – pause go across the top of the square – exhale down the left side of the square and lastly pause go across the bottom of the square.
8. It is natural to feel rushed, try and let that go and start at #1 again. Deep Mindful Breathing takes practice.
9. Ask for help and or find a yoga teacher who can help you and lead you. There are breathing apps for your phone. I like the CALM app.