Do you really, fully understand how important your breath is? Remember, without air in our lungs, within 3 minutes we would cease to exist. Breath is essential to our everyday life. So, why do we take it so for granted?
The breath is called prana, which is the life force that lives within us. When, we as newborns, took our first breath, that was the Almighty breathing life into us!
Breath moves in us effortlessly as this is a natural form in our physical bodies. It is our parasympathetic nervous system at work. However, sometimes we don’t breath correctly. Sometimes stress, and anxiety cause us to breathe invertedly which robs of essential nutrients in our brain and bloodstream.
Next time you are nervous or stressed it’s possible to calm and refresh your breathing purposefully. Stop, step back, take a deep breath, and sigh it out. Is you belly expanding when you breathe? It should. And you belly should contract when you exhale, but so many times we breathe in the opposite manner. Notice how you are breathing. Take another, inhale to the count of 5, hold it then let it out to a long, slow count of 8. Because the first thing we do when we are frightened is we tighten up. Our breathing becomes shallow. We can gulp our air before we even exhale.
It’s even more amazing to me, how easy it is to breathe backwards. I mean, when we inhale our bellies are supposed to expand, but how many times when you take a deep breath, do you suck your belly in. Our belly should expand when we inhale and comes in when we exhale as in the picture below.
There is also a technique called alternate nostril breathing that activates your parasympathetic nervous system. There are many benefits to this type of practiced breathing, which are listed in the following article.
The is part of the autonomic nervous system—the division of the nervous system that controls largely automatic processes such as digestion, respiration, and heart rate.
Parasympathetic nerves originate in the middle of the spinal column, arising from the spinal nerves of the central nervous system. Axons of this system are typically quite long and extend into ganglia in the rest of the body. These ganglia are typically located in or near organs, allowing the parasympathetic nervous system to rapidly send and receive signals throughout the body. Because the parasympathetic nervous system originates in the spinal column, it does not typically require conscious thought to elicit a reaction.
Learning a little bit about how these two systems work, I was was in Yoga class last week, and I remember we did some sort of movement that I had never done before. At the end of this certain pose, the instructor said to let out a deep sigh. When I did, it felt like something very old and toxic was coming out of my breath. Something that had been stuck in that spot for a very long time and had become stale, How lovely that a simple movement can activate areas of our bodies that have stored old thoughts, and ways of doing things that no longer serve us.
Breath is God’s life force living in us! It is what makes us alive. It makes us human. The next time you are stressed or feeling down, think of your breath. Be conscious in it. If nothing else, it is a HUGE gift to be grateful for in our lives!
I will be leading a stretching class at the Cuchara Mountain Mercantile this summer on Wednesdays from 11:00-12:00 pm. Please join us whenever you can. It’s a lovely venue, and when the weather is warm enough, we can move outside to the deck!
Cuchara Mountain Mercantile.