By now everyone has heard about yoga and meditation are good for the mind and body. The thing that connect the two is deep breathing, especially belly breathing. Breathing is usually controlled by our subconscious but directly affects our consciousness.
Why we forget how to breath
We come to this world knowing how to breathe effortlessly. Yet, the majority of grown-ups don’t.
We breath in a way that causes us nervousness, stress, anger, and overall to be sympathetically driven. We get use to this type of breathing so much that is becomes our default setting. This type of breathing, uses all the small accessory muscles around the chest wall. It uses them to inhale by lifting the rib cage and exhale by pushing down. It forces the body to work in both directions. By using the smaller muscles, you are expending more energy, decreasing the efficiency, adding stress to your system, and not allowing it to relax. This requires a constant demand of oxygen and energy which leaves less of each available for anything else. All of this is performed 12 to 16 times per minute in a healthy adult. The result is an over-stimulation of the sympathetic nervous system.
Once you are sympathetically driven, the symptoms described above are only the begining.
How to rewire your breathing
There is a way to tap into your nervous system and rewire it. This will allow you to improve your breathing, alter your state of mind, health, and wellbeing. This is something actors and singers use to enunciate correctly, hit high notes, and make impressive runs. It is the “belly breathing” or otherwise known as the diaphragmatic breathing. Belly breathing uses the large muscle called the diaphragm, which is meant for breathing. It sits right below the lungs and it’s job is to increase and decrease the chest cavity. Allowing this muscle to takes over, breathing becomes effortless. It allows your nervous system to shift away from the sympathetic drive and into a parasympathetic mode. This means more relaxation, clear headspace, better digestion, and a well-balanced system.
Babies use this type of breathing innately. As they experience the world, they start shifting into a sympathetic tone and forget about their innate breathing mechanism. The body however, never forgets how to perform it. It might take some practice in the beginning but stick with it! Sooner than later, with daily practice, this could be the breakthrough in your stress management you were hoping for. Your escape when frustration is about to take over. Or maybe just a way to reach a new PEAK in your life.
Instructions on how to perform a proper belly breath and progressions can be found in our youtube video below. Enjoy it, and let the relaxation begin…
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Photo by Pablo Orcaray on Unsplash
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