Why the Breath Matters

If you have taken a yoga class sometime in your life, you might recall the teacher asking you to breathe. Not just breathe, but to pay attention to breathing. It could have gone a little something like this, “take a deep breath in through the nose and open the mouth exhale it out”.  She would have proceed to then remind you to breathe throughout class.

Why is there so much explanation about something that happens naturally all the time? Simply put, there is an art and science to the breath that directly effects the body/mind complex. We breathe 26,000 times a day (pretty crazy big number) and each breath builds upon itself to effect mood, cellular health, skin tone, digestive quality, energy level, concentration, memory and much more. 

As we breathe, the mind/body complex is watching. If you’re breathing shallow and fast, the translation is “oh… she’s stressed out and anxious, I better get ready for flight, fight or freeze mode.”  If the breath is long, deep and steady throughout the day the interpretation is “oh.. ok, we are in relaxation mode, let’s chill and regenerate.” Both states are occurring all the time as part of our daily functioning and both are important. The finesse is knowing when you feel tension and when you feel relaxation.  Often times these states are due to your breathing pattern.  This is so important to living well. It can’t be overstated that internal awareness is important in creating a life well lived.

Try incorporating the following breathing technique everyday for 2 weeks. Feel the difference. Reach out and let us know how you’re doing.

Breath Awareness with 1:1 ratio Balanced Breathing

Sit in an upright position that’s comfortable.  Begin to slowing length the spine.  Draw the shoulders back slightly and try to allow the shoulders to drop away from the ears.  Tuck the chin in slightly to lengthen the neck.  Imaging the tip top of the head is rising upward, like a ballon floating. Close the eyes down and turn your awareness inward.  Become aware of the natural breathing process without changing it.  Observe the breathing process for 1-2 minutes. 

Begin to notice which breath, either the inhale or the exhale, is longer

Begin to count the breath to find out. Like this;

On the inhale mentally count slowly, 1,2,3,4 or whatever the number is. 

On the exhale count, 1,2,3,4,5.  Each breath should have a number. 

For balancing/centering breath, begin to bring the breath that is shorter in line with the longer breath, slowly. For example, if you counted up to 3 on your inhale and 4 on your exhale. Bring the inhale up to a 4 count and keep the exhale at a 4 count. 

 After your inhale and exhale are the same duration then length both by 1 count longer. 

Continue to breath long, deep and rhythmically. Take 8 more rounds of breath. Then relax and return to your normal breathing pattern. Observe your body. Observe your mind. Continue with your day.

Practice this breath twice a day if possible, especially when you feel uptight, pissed off or emotional. If you practice 2 weeks straight, you may receive a great gift of increased patience, calm and ease. Start today! 

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Naomi Jones Yoga offers a monthly newsletter with wellness tips for a life well lived. We offer yoga, meditation, Ayurveda and philosophy insights to incorporate into your life in a meaningful way.

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