Do you ever get caught up with what you’re doing, thinking, anticipating and suddenly you gasp for air because you’ve been forgetting to breath?!
This happened to me today…and no it’s not the first time.
I was getting so caught up in my task that I became overwhelmed with the stress of expectation. My body, as the majority of others when under stress, was over using my mental capacity to the point that my brain was using majority of my energy therefore reducing my breath to a bare minimum. A light chest breath.
A chest breath can only go so far before the body realizes it’s in need of more oxygen. I unconsciously gasped for air and took as few deep breathes to catch up with myself.
In that moment I thought… what am I taking so seriously to the point that I haven’t even taken a full breath for who knows how long?
Yes I practice yoga, yes I have a dedicated meditation practice, yes I’m physically active healthy, etc… and yes sometimes I FORGET to breath.
The body breaths naturally so how can one forget?
Well my friend, there are many types of breaths and I could get very detailed about the path of the breath but I’ll keep it short in sweet.
Breath is prana and prana is life.
In yoga breathing exercises are called pranayama. Literally translated to: control of life forces.
There is a ton of science out there that shows how breath is directly related to our nervous system, immune system and our overall happiness.
Research is showing an appreciation for breathing practices and its benefits such as described in Sheila Patel MD’s article Breathing for Life: The Mind-Body Healing Benefits of Pranayama.
Reduced anxiety and depression
Lower/stabilized blood pressure
Increased energy level
Decreased feelings of stress and overwhelm
If you’re wishing for an mindful and healthy lifestyle, your breath is the foundation for creating this for yourself.
This is why breathing is a practice. Not to make perfect but rather as a reminder of what type of life you want to live.
As much as research, articles even myself can tell you of all these benefits and how becoming aware and in control of your breath can truly change your life… you need to experience it for yourself.
Even for people who practice pranayama regularly, we all have moments of stress, anxiety and dismissing what our body is truly asking for, even if it’s as simple as a breath.
However, you need to start somewhere.
Check in with your breath for a moment, try this with me.
Put one hand on your chest and the other on your belly. Feel the air come in quickly and release out quickly only allowing the chest to move and not the belly. Notice there is barely any movement in the rest of your body for this breath. This is the Light Chest Breath.
Put your hand on your rib cage and feel them expanding in all directions as you inhale slowly, your spine may even release a little crack as your posture straightens to make room for the air… and then slowly let it out. This is the Deep Belly Breath.
Notice how the Deep Belly Breath immediately relaxes your nervous system and slows down your thoughts. By slowing down your thought patterns you can start to zero in on what is truly important in the moment therefore using your energy more efficiently.
If you want a healthy, exciting and purposeful life, you need to go right back to the basics because when life gets you over thinking or stressed out, you’re going to need your breath at its best!
It’s your life and your breath, so make it as deep, powerful and meaningful as possible!
If you would like more breathing practices, check out my Free Mediation Library of audio recordings where I take you through a series of different breathing techniques to relax your mind and practice building a healthy breath awareness!