Breath awareness – the bridge between body, emotions, energy and spirit
Breathing is the bridge between body, mind and heart, a process of which we are aware of or not. We can breathe without realizing it or we can pay attention to our breathing and change it, breathing rhythmically, breathing on steps, using the breath to eliminate stress from our body when we lie down.
Breathing may be one of the most beautiful things to be aware of at all times during the day. You can’t imagine how wonderful this process may be, until you pay attention to it.
I often drank black tea in the morning, trying to feel things more intense. Then I realized that actually, what brings intensity and pleasure is not the tea, but every breath during those moments. External impulses were only helpful.
Riveting states and thrills lie within us and we can access them without any impulse or stimulus from the outside. For example, when I go to the mountains, I don’t need to watch a movie to feel good. Breathing can help us focus, recharge our batteries or let go of things we no longer need. And the best part is that it’s always with us, while tea, chocolate or coffee are not, and unfortunately they can help only up to a certain point.
Unfortunately, stress and fussiness nowadays have become a common state of mind and most people around us are in a constant motion, with as many tasks on their customary daily “to do” list and with a constant feeling that they don’t have enough time for themselves.
We are used to think about a million things at once and especially to do at least two activities at the same time (eating, watching television, talking, driving the car, talking on the phone).
This constant demand of the mind leads to:
- Nervousness, irritability (I have so many things to do that I can’t always be patient).
- Insomnia (the mind becomes so accustomed to working 24/7, that it can’t suddenly stop even if it knew how).
- Feelings of panic, anxiety (we feel that we can’t do everything, we feel overwhelmed).
- A permanent state of tenseness.
- In time, all these lead to mental and physical exhaustion, the phase in which our body gives us signals that this constant chase begins to affect it seriously. At this point, we start taking painkillers/vitamins, which, as we begin to realize, do not solve the underlying problem.
Exercises that will increase breath awareness
Breathing exercises are intended to replace the shallow and short breathing we all have while experiencing stress. It’s called abdominal breathing. There are numerous ways to acquire a deep breath. Here are some of them for you to try and then choose the one you like most:
Bamboo breathing technique
Inhale as deeply as possible and then exhale slowly, breaking the breath into segments, with one second pause between them (the exhalation should resemble the bamboo stalk, which consists of several interrupted segments). In doing so, you remove more air than when you exhale all the air at once.
Breathe deeply through the nose, silently counting to 4 and then hold your breath while counting to 4. Then exhale through the mouth, counting to 8. Repeat this sequence of breathing for several minutes.
Cover one nostril with your finger, take a deep breath and then exhale through the mouth. After repeating this process for a few times, change the nostril and do the same. It is said that this breathing exercise stimulates both brain hemispheres at the same time.
Put your hand on your abdomen and imagine that there is a bubble that slowly fills and empties with air. Imagine that when you breathe in, a positive state enters, and tensions are removed as you exhale.
How to practice these techniques
For starters it would be ideal to practice these techniques in a quiet and airy place. You should sit in a comfortable position with your back straight, close your eyes to facilitate concentration and focus the attention on your breathing. For a few seconds, simply observe the pace and quality of your breathing without interfering.
Practice these techniques at different times during the day, each session lasting a few minutes: in the morning after we wake up with the window open (even during the cold season, dressed appropriately of course). The effects are immediate and proportional with the duration, increasing noticeable.
Benefits of breathing exercises
Studies regarding this matter have shown that the mere control of the breath induces a deep relaxation and increases the body’s temperature, favoring a state of peace. The breathing therapy is very effective in the treatment of many ailments, such as:
- chronic fatigue;
- sleep disorders;
- anxiety and phobias;
- panic disorder;
Its benefits include:
- improving the functioning of the central nervous system;
- better oxygenation of all organs;
- maintaining the health of the lungs;
- efficient elimination of toxins;
- eliminating mental churn and the sensation that we are overwhelmed,
- ensuring a state of calm and especially clarity of the mind;
- feeling of being present here and now.
Choose to breathe consciously and to live accordingly. Be aware and make the right choices so that you can take control over your life.
Image credit – cardiotrek.ca