Close your eyes, inhale through your nose for four counts, hold it in your belly for two counts, exhale to the count of four. Repeat a few times and pay full attention to how your body and mind feel afterwards! This extremely simple exercise is among the easiest breathing exercises you can do to ground yourself whenever you are feeling anxious and overwhelmed. You guessed right, the world of breathing is a massive sea waiting to be explored for as they say “Breath is the bedrock of well-being.” So if you’re a wellness fanatic or just dipping your toes into the wellness pond, breathing is the easiest tool to incorporate into your hectic lives.
Think about it, you can go for hours on end without water and food but how long can you go without breathing? We’re guessing not for long:) So how can we utilise breathing and make it something more conscious and much more powerful? It is claimed that you can change the state of your mind and body through the act of conscious breathing. First, pay attention to your regular breathing? Is it fast or slow, shallow or deep, just spend a few moments noticing your breath without trying to change anything about it. Funnily enough, it will change of its own accord! Once we put our attention on the breath, it will slow down involuntarily.
Take moments throughout the day to notice your breath and to pay attention to it. Just remember an essential fact that stress and anxiety cannot continue to exist in your body if you consciously pay attention to your breath and slow it down, especially your inhalations. Our nervous system affects our breathing directly; when we’re in a fight-or-flight state our breathing become faster and more shallow, and we will be prone to holding our breath without noticing. Your breathing will affect your heart and lung and these in turn will send messages to your brain reinforcing your anxious stressful state. Thus, we can physically affect our nervous states by actively changing our breathing. All it takes is ATTENTION! Just by bringing attention to your breathing it will automatically slow down, and it will send messages to your brain that all is calm and well.
Yogis and mystics can vouch for this truth, that breath and emotions are inextricably linked. Whether you experience joy, anger, or fear; each emotional state is linked to a certain breathing pattern. So when you actively slow down your breath, this corresponds to feelings of joy and the opposite is also true. Suppressing your emotions is related to tightness of breath, whereas if your breath is fluid and spacious this leads to feelings of fulfilment and ease of self-expression.
Practicing breathing is a highly spiritual exercise that is linked to your life force. The Greek word “psyche” is translated into life or breath, while the Sanskrit word “pranayama” comes from “prana” (life energy) thus it is believed that when you develop a relationship with your breath you ultimately strengthen your relationship with your spirit. Conscious breathing grounds you and brings you into the present moment where all your problems evaporate into thin air. Breathing centres you and creates a space where compassion grows. Compassion towards yourself and others; isn’t this is the essence of life??