Do you know that the way you breathe says a lot about you and the emotional state that your are in? Have you ever stop to watch yourself breathing? Even though yoga and ayurveda have always given a special relevance to the breath as source of health, in the West we have just started to become aware of the air going in and out.
You have probably noticed that when you go out running, rock climbing or when you are doing strenuous physical exercise, you breathe deeper, the heart beats faster and the cycles of breath are more intense. You don´t breath equally when you are in a work meeting than when you have dinner with your friends, right? throughout the day, the patterns of breath change because of circumstances but also depending on the time of day and the different ways of flowing with your own breath have an enormous influence in your hormonal system and in the state of your mind.
A slow, peaceful breath is like a resting child. It relaxes you because it activates the parasympathetic nervous system, which is the one in charge of creating the state of resting that allows your body to save energy and harmonize all bodily systems. On the contrary, fast and superficial breathing stresses you because it activates the sympathetic nervous system, which is the one in charge of activating the fight or flight response that allows us to survive in the face of imminent danger. Fight or flight response allows your body to generate stress hormones (cortisol and adrenaline), accelerates the cardiac rhythm and starts many other natural reactions that are necessary for survival in risky circumstances. Both breaths are necessary, the problem is that many people spend most of the day breathing fast and on the surface and, therefore, activating the sympathetic nervous system without being in a life-or-death situation. While this last form of breathing is needed at times, when is not linked to a particular danger, can have terrible consequences for your body-mind-soul.
Conscious breathing regulates and harmonizes your body-mind:
Reduces anxiety, depression and stress.
Stabilizes blood pressure and improves the functions of the heart and the circulatory system.
Increases your energy levels.
Relaxes the miofascial tissue (muscles, tendons and the entire connective tissue).
Decreases emotional turbulence and increases your capacity to enjoy life.
Helps with weight loss and the control of addictions.
Regulates the cycles of sleep.
Improves the functions of your mind and makes your creativity flow.
Raises positive feelings like compassion, happiness or contentment.
Establishes a deep connection with nature and the universe.
There is a part 2 of this post and you will receive an exercise that teaches you how to breath consciously. Don´t miss it!
“Breathing is life, if you breathe properly, you will live long on Earth” Sanskrit proverb