The Power of Breath

The Power of Breath

Are you new to this concept? If so, you may be wondering, why is it important to be mindful of the breath. This is why: There is a direct correlation between the breath and the mind. What happens in your mind shows up in your breathing and vice versa. For example, when you’re in a peaceful mood and relaxed, your breathing is comprised of long and steady inhalations and exhalations. Thus providing a steady stream of oxygen to your body, and keeping you a relaxed state. When you’re stressed, the breath becomes fast, shallow and lacking a consistent rhythm. This in turn, perpetuates your present state of being stressed, by depriving your body of oxygen.

Maybe you have heard the saying: Just Breathe. Well, it’s as simple as that. Really. Take a deep long inhalation followed by a controlled exhalation. Now, repeat. By resetting the mind, and creating a purposeful connection with your breath, you can begin to combat stress.

Many of us are not aware that we are breathing incorrectly. Most of us take a inhale, by raising the shoulders and inflating our chest cavity. This is incorrect and does not serve our bodies. Let’s reset how we inhale. Begin by taking a long and slow breath in, but this time, imagine your belly inflating like a balloon and deflating when you exhale. This is the proper way to breathe. When you breathe into your belly, the diaphragm muscle moves down and thus the lungs are allowed more room to open up and take in more oxygen. More oxygen = Less stress.

Here’s a simple breathing technique to get you started with the practice of intentional breathing for stress reduction and to create a stronger mind-body connection. The great thing about this technique is that you can do it anywhere and at any time!

Take a deep breath for the count of 4. Now hold your breath for the count of 2. Exhale for the count of 4. Hold for the count of 2. Repeat.

Remember, belly breaths here! Use this technique to combat stress, to re-center and focus the mind. When you focus on your breath, you can focus on the present.

“Time is our present breath”. — Ajahn Chah

Let’s take a look at the benefits of routinely practicing breathing exercises, such as the one above:

1) Breathing releases tension. By relaxing, you allow your body to properly oxygenate itself.

2) Belly breaths massage your internal organs and improve circulation.

3) Deep breathing techniques improve posture.

4) Mindful breathing can elevate and improve your mood.

5) Correct breathing improves the quality of the blood. Deep breathing can help remove all

carbon dioxide and increase oxygen levels in the blood.

Choose to honor yourself by integrating this simple practice for a myriad health benefits. Take a moment each day to strengthen your mind body connection. The breath follows the mind and the mind follows the breath.

Be Moved by your breath. Use your breath as a valuable tool to carry you through to the next moment in life.

“Life is not a matter of milestone, but of moments.”

Originally published at on November 29, 2015.

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