…is conscious regulation of breath. –Dr. Andrew Weil
Our breath is one of the processes in our body we so easily take for granted. Like the beating of our heart, our breathing will continue without any conscious effort on our part. The amazing thing is that we can consciously and intentionally influence and control the flow of our breath, allowing for a bridge between our conscious and unconscious mind.
It’s easy to notice how our physical and emotional states can have a great impact on the state of our breathing. When we’re in pain or experiencing strong emotions our breathing may speed up or we may find ourselves constricting or holding our breath. But it also works the other way. Conscious breathing can bring about changes in our physical and emotional states. Dr. Weil says that“practicing regular, mindful breathing can be calming and energizing and can even help with stress-related health problems ranging from panic attacks to digestive disorders.”
There are many breathing practices we can use to help us transform our breath and the state of our physical and emotional health. Awareness is the first step – simply pay attention to your breathing. Another simple exercise is to consciously attend to your exhalation. By completely exhaling the air in your lungs, you naturally create room to more fully receive air into them. This allows for a healthier delivery of oxygen to the body and removal of carbon dioxide from the body.
Here are some resources to explore if you’re interested in learning more:
Breathing Lessons – An App I just discovered that I’m looking forward to trying out!
The Miracle of the Breath – Andy Caponigro
Sudarshan Kriya – The Art of Living Foundation
The breath has a great secret to offer. –Sri Sri Ravi Shankar