When you think about your breath as being your link to life, it takes on a whole new meaning. In our fast-paced lives, most of us forget to breathe fully as everything occupies our minds, except for breathing. We are often so caught up in meeting the needs of our family, work, etc., that we fail to nurture ourselves.
When my daughter was born I noticed how every single part of her body moved with her breath. It reminded me that deep breathing is as natural to us as it is a child, and it fades away as we get older unless we pay it some attention.
When our body identifies stress, it begins to produce stress hormones, which increases our respiration levels, blood pressure, and heart rate. How often during the day do you catch yourself holding your breath, clenching your jaw, or grinding your teeth at night while you sleep?
When people hold tension in their bodies, there is a natural tendency to only breathe from the chest (also known as shallow breathing). Every time we are faced with a stressful situation, these are the very times we need to be able to automatically incorporate breathing techniques, even if it's only for a few seconds.
Luckily, we can respond to that stress and alleviate the body's response simply by breathing deep.
The simple act of breathing in itself is so important for many of our bodily functions. When we breathe in deeply, we cleanse our body with fresh oxygenated blood. Holding our breath or shallow breathing can hurt this perfect ability of our bodies to produce fresh oxygenated blood.
This can cause a number of problems including improper digestion, exhaustion, and anxiety within the body eventually leading to overall poor health and a lack of coping ability.
Now as you are doing this, try smiling as you take air in through your nose, and as you exhale, the breath should make a gentle noise, as the wind might make in the trees on a breezy day. Sense what you are feeling. When you first start this exercise, do it for five minutes. Try to work your way up to twenty minutes. Once you've finished, spend a few minutes without moving to allow your body to simply exist for a few moments.