Stop right there, wherever you are, whatever you are doing, and try the following:
- Take a deep breath. Fill your lungs completely. Hold it for three seconds. Now let it go softly, as if allowing a balloon to deflate completely, on its own, without effort.
- Repeat this two more times, allowing each breath to become longer and softer.
- Examine your body now. How does it feel? Can you notice any changes?
Breathing is a powerful tool. It is one of our only vital functions that works entirely on its own without any effort, but that we can also modify and control consciously. Many simply see breathing as the mechanical process of bringing air into and out of the body, but it is so much more than that.
Breathing is intimately linked to how we move and perform physically. How we breathe directly affects our digestion, blood circulation and immune system. It impacts our sexual health and ability to fulfill our basic toileting needs. It influences how we react to stress. It brings focus and concentration. The thoughts we have and the emotions we feel can change the way we breathe. Interestingly, changing the way we breathe can transform our thoughts, emotions and our physical body.
This isn’t new knowledge. In fact ancient traditions have been using breath to explore the mind body connection for thousands of years through practices such as meditation and yoga. What is new, is the expanding body of quality scientific research being done on breathing, mindfulness and meditation and their applications in healthcare. These studies have helped us better understand how we can use breathing as a gateway to accessing the central nervous system, our body’s computer.
This 10-part article-series will explore how we can use something as simple as breathing to reprogram our own “computer”, to improve how we move, ease our pain and reach our full potential!
The concepts we will discuss are simple but empowering.
Dare to dive in?
Intro : Dare to Breathe
1. The Diaphragm: Life and Breath
2. Breath: Supply and Demand
3. Breathing and Joint Mobility
4. The Diaphragm: A Web of Connection
5. Breath and Emotion
6. How Stress Can Change Our Breath
7. Breath Awareness: a Powerful Tool to Bridge the Body and Mind
8. Breath Regulation: Empower Yourself!
9. Mindfulness and Meditation: the Power of Awareness
10. Yoga: Transforming the Body and Mind
Prosko, S. (2019). Breathing and Pranayama in Pain Care. In: Pearson N, Prosko S, Sullivan M (Eds). Yoga and Science in Pain Care: Treating the Person in Pain. London, Uk: Singing Dragon Publishers; pp. 140-156.