The beginning of your life is probably measured from that moment when you took your first breath. From that point on, you ‘know how to breathe’ so you completely forget about it except in those rare instances when you can’t ! Suddenly more air can become very important – for example, when you are under water.
The truth is air is always important. Most of us take on habits of not breathing properly and suffer because of this. It is therefore useful to learn how to breathe properly or to breathe deeply. The health benefits of proper deep breathing are numerous.
Help to clear and focus your mind
Increase your energy level
Releases endorphines into the system. These are natural painkillers that create a natural highs and easy sleep.
Relaxes muscles a major cause of neck, back and stomach pains
These are just the physical benefits that are easily measurable. There are a lot more. By practicing a breathing exercise just a few minutes a day, the benefits continue into the rest of your day, and with continued practice, we create the habit of always breathing properly and therefore multiply the benefits many times.
Three Simple Breathing exercises: (check with your doctor is you have a respiratory illness)
1. The simplest breathing exercise is simply to put your attention on your breathing as you are inhaling and exhaling normally.
Several things usually happen quite naturally. First, your breathing will slow down and lengthen. If you try this even for one minute you will notice the difference. Try it right now. I dare you! Secondly you will start noticing the transitions between inhaling and exhaling. Many people experience deep silence, depth, and expansion during those transitions.
2. The next simplest exercise .... is to hold your breath just for a short comfortable time after each inhale.
When you first start, this holding will be just a second or two. Later you will enjoy this so much you will hold it comfortably longer. Yogic and Chi Gong experts explain that this slowing of your breathing allows your body to ‘digest’ the energy in the air more completely, This extra energy or ‘prana’ activates your pituitary gland. The pituitary is a master gland which activates all the other glands and thus rejuvenates your whole body.
Consider the tortoise, which takes deep slow breaths. Tortoises are one of the longest living animals on earth – some of them over 200 years old.
3. Still another easy exercise is to breath with your BELLY.
If you watch a baby breathing as it is laying down this is how they naturally breathe and it will be more obvious to you if you lie down also. You can introduce this after you become comfortable with conscious breathing in No. 1.
Instead of using the muscles of your lungs to expand the top part of your lungs (on the inhale) you use your diaphragm muscles and your belly expands. This gets air deeper into your lungs and is very relaxing. With a little practice you will breathe more and more with your belly until you do it all the time without thinking.
You can employ these techniques for a few minutes every day for increasing benefits. You can also use them in an ‘emergency’ such as when you are stressed, anxious or can’t sleep. You can even consciously implement them as ‘micro techniques’ for just a second or two when you are walking, working and going about your day. Every bit helps. The body will remember when it is more relaxed and try to go in that direction more and more – IF you give it the chance. That’s what regeneration is all about – giving the body the proper environment to renew and balance and do what it wants to do.
More on this topic:
13 Benefits of Breathing Deeply and Diana’s Personal Story.