My passion is to share the many health benefits of fitness, yoga, Pilates and meditation that I have experienced on my own physical, mental and emotional well-being. Consciously breathing is one of them! It was the first thing I did when I realized I was in hospital recovering from a serious bicycle accident back in May!
Breathing is something that we do unconsciously more than 25,000 times a day! Who’s counting? Breathwork has long been a part of the ancient yogic wisdom of Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras, known as the eight-limbed path. Pranayama/Breathing is the fourth limb. In Sanskrit, “prana” means vital life force. Without it we wouldn’t be. How we breathe affects us physically, mentally and emotionally. We can consciously choose to alter how we breathe to create more energy in the body when feeling depleted or quiet the mind from our overthinking. In a yoga class, you will likely experience different pranayama/breath techniques depending on the class focus.
In mindfulness practices, when we anchor our attention on each breath, over and over again we remain in the present moment. We are not being carried away thinking of the past or the future. Of course, we may think about the past or the future or other things. That’s normal. However, when we notice that we have been distracted, we then gently guide our mind back to our breath. Just like training a puppy. Focused breathing has many benefits to maintain good health and stave off illness and dis-ease/disease and restore balance in body and mind.
Feeling anxious, tired, not focused, not sleeping well? Then take three full deep breaths. Inhale fully to the top of the lungs; exhale completely all the way down to the bottom of the lungs! Try doing this three times throughout your day and notice if there are any shifts in how you feel. You can practice this upon waking, before sleeping, before the start of a meeting or just before anything! These are only a few suggestions. Why not give it a try and see how you start to feel! It might just change your life! You might also like to read “Breath” by James Nestor on the lost art of breathing and its connection to overall wellness.