And breathe. On average we take around 23,000 breaths a day and unlike our heartbeat, it is a bodily function that we have direct control over. When we bring awareness to what is happening in our chest area, we are able to adopt techniques in the way in which air is being transmitted to and from our lungs. This action, as simple as it sounds, can transform your life.
- Relaxes muscles and promotes better circulation
- Gives motion to the lymphatic system which boosts the body's capacity for cellular regeneration
- Elevates mood. Promotes feelings of calmness when stressed and energises fatigued minds
- Improves digestion. With a better oxygen supply to the stomach and digestive organs, digestion is optimised
- Focuses our thoughts and allows us to react more calmly and with more composure
- Increases flexibility and improves stamina when incorporated into workouts or yoga sequences
- Improves the quality of your blood by removing more of the carbon dioxide and increasing oxygen levels. And the better oxygenated your body, the better your life!
Breathing should be deep and slow and conducted as much as possible through the nasal passages, or at least the in-breath should always be through the nose.
When we are stressed, or breathing unconsciously our breath tends to be shallow, restrictive and kept in the top of the chest cavity.
Awareness of your breathing will encourage more expansive breaths that transfers air to the belly region; lasting for as long as possible and for roughly equal counts on both the inhale and the exhale.
While it will feel little contrived to begin with, it shouldn't be forced. Don't create tension in your body by over exerting yourself, work with your body's natural rhythm.
Place one hand on your belly and one on chest and feel the breath fill each chamber separately. Air should flow into the chest first before distending the stomach, exiting from the stomach first and lastly from the rib cage. At first, this may feel unnatural, a little uncomfortable even; however try to persevere, as once mastered, the rewards are endless!