HOW DO YOU BREATHE?
Breath practice has a tremendous effect on our nervous system. Simply focusing on our breathing can change the way we feel. Breathing is something we take for granted, a tool that we carry with us daily, yet never really put it to use. Imagine if we focused on our breath and connected to our calmer selves on a daily basis…maybe we wouldn’t have so much stress and disease in our lives.
So how do you breathe? Do you know how you breathe? Chances are you don’t and believe it or not that is very common. People who are stressed and anxious tend to have very fast, shallow breathing. Using only a fraction of our lung capacity is also very common. To use the breath to calm the nervous system, we want to deepen it and slow it down. A simple breath practice called ‘coherent breath’ helps us do this.
Step by step guide:
1. Find a comfortable seat. Sit up tall. Close the eyes if comfortable for you. If you can breathe easily through your nose, close the mouth and breathe just through the nose. If you need to breathe through the mouth that is fine too.
2. Take a deep breath in through the nose and count in your head. You will come up with a number of maybe 2 or 4 depending on your current lung capacity. That number is your inhale number. When you breathe out, slow it down. You may multiply your inhale number by 3 and use that number as your exhale number. For example, I inhale for 4 counts and exhale for 12, or I inhale for 2 and exhale for 6. It doesn’t need to be perfect, just think of slowing down your exhale.
Practice this technique for 5 minutes every day! It is all about the consistency and only works if you practice it. Check in with your breath and enjoy the calming effects.
Caelin is a 1000hr-Professional Yoga Therapist with a specialties in anxiety, depression and post-traumatic stress disorder. Caelin is a member of the International Association of Yoga Therapy. For more information on this association: www.iaty.org.