The benefits of breathing deeply
Life is busy and as a mum, it can feel as though there is no time to stop. Gone are those easy moments with a HOT cup of tea, the luxury of waking up and doing my yoga practise without two kids jumping on my back! It wasn’t until I had the joy of eight hours of meditation and singing over the Easter weekend with Jai-Jagdeesh that I noticed that I really wasn’t breathing properly.
With all the distraction and busy-ness of life my breathing had become shallow and a little stuck feeling. So I made a resolve to try to spend the next 40 days breathing properly! To motivate myself, I started re-looking into all the benefits of deep breathing and I thought I’d share my favourite ones with YOU.
Firstly, what is mindfulness?
– a mental state achieved by focusing one’s awareness on the present moment, while calmly acknowledging and accepting one’s feelings, thoughts, and bodily sensations, used as a therapeutic technique.
Breathing deeply, focuses our mind and allows us to tune into the present moment, this helps us to acknowledge and feel our feelings and sensations within the body. This in turn helps us to relax…
When we breathe deeply, we switch on the parasympathetic nervous system, which calms down our excitatory and stress inducing neurotransmitters. This helps us to feel calm and relaxed.
3. Happiness & pain relief
When we breathe deeply, endorphins are released into the body and brain, helping us to feel happy. Endorphins interact with the opiate receptors in the brain reducing our perception of pain and making us feel good. A natural feel good hormone!
4. Alkalises our system
Our modern lifestyle of poor diet, toxic environments and sedentary lifestyles tend to make our bodies slightly acidic. This can cause an unwanted environment where bacteria and yeast can thrive, amongst other things. The minerals are seeped from our vital organs and bones to help alkalise our system.
When we breathe out, we are releasing the waste product CO2, which is acidic in nature. Aside from eating an alkaline diet, breathing deeply can help to alkalise our systems.
Controlled breathing has been shown to help brain neuroplasticity! By focusing the mind using the breath, the brain experiences growth in the areas associated with attention and the processing of sensory input. Consistent use of this technique can help keep our brain matter healthy and stimulated. Neurons that fire together, wire together!
The deep breath
Find a relaxed position and breathing through both nostrils. Start by filling the abdomen, then expanding the chest and finally lifting the upper ribs and clavicles. Gently hold the breath for a moment before the exhale begins.
The exhale is the reverse: first the upper deflates, then the middle, and finally the abdomen pulls in and up as the navel point pulls back toward the spine.
Pip Atherstone-Reid is the co-founder and co-owner of Kundalini House and has been an Acupuncture and TCM practitioner for over 15 years. She is available for Acupuncture & TCM appointments on Mondays and Wednesdays.