In the next few weeks, I am going to share some simple ways to improve your health from the inside out. There is so much going on in the world today, that I thought I’d share some things I have heard about that may interest you about your health. Today, I will share the benefits of complete breathing.
On June 21, 2015 the United Nations acknowledged and instituted International Yoga Day!
According to the experts, the world is at a crossroads where we can come together to spread positive energy in different ways to help reduce all the crazy things that have been upon us. All backed by science. Yoga is one of the most widely known and has become popular across the world. Yoga is at least 5,000 years old and literally means union. It is not a religion but a way of living and of being. It should eventually integrate into your life to bring balance to you and spread into the world through the interactions that you have, each and every day.
What most people don’t really stop to consider is that Yoga is not only an exercise for the body to gain flexibility and decrease aging, but also an exercise for the mind and spirit, as well. Like I said, it brings us balance. Yoga has a long list of wonderful benefits. One of Yoga’s benefits is found with breathing exercises that improve our overall health , teach us to calm down and quiet our inner mind chatter.
Science has done studies showing the change in our brain activity after only 5 minutes of doing simple breathing exercises.
Our world is stress inducing from all directions. Why not add this to your day?
5 minutes of simple full breathing in the morning can keep you from overreacting to whatever stressful situations present themselves throughout the day and 5 minutes at night will remove all the stress from the day that you are exposed to. Even with the morning calm, my driving commute is stressful enough! An end to road rage? Maybe. When I get through the door at night from work, 5 minutes of deep breathing can set me up for a very pleasant night where I am not craving sweets, overeating or feeling frazzled. It is a nice transition from day to night, making it easier to concentrate on your loved ones and your home environment instead of going over work projects or conversations in your head that you had during the day which might not have gone so smoothly.
Breathing exercises can be done anywhere and anytime. You can do them in your car while you are driving, at the store when you are waiting in line, at work when you need a break or when you are listening to that salesperson trying to sell you something you don’t want. You get the idea. Breathing exercises are the gateway to a meditation practice which can improve your brain health even more, but start slow as see how it goes. Your lungs need to adjust to it little by little or you could feel lightheaded and dizzy.
In Yoga, there are at least 6 popular breathing techniques. Each has an opposing psychological effect, physical benefit and different degree of difficulty. See what I mean? Mind, body and spirit uniting. Below, I will share the Complete Breath Exercise suggested by Olivia H. Miller, author of The Yoga Deck, which is the easiest to learn and incorporate into everyday life.
You can do this exercise seated or laying down.
- Relax and close your eyes( if you can-it isn’t necessary)
- Exhale completely. Inhale slowly and deeply through your nose. Allow your stomach to expand like a balloon. Fill your chest and lungs.
- Hold your breath, exhale slowly through your nose, squeezing out all the stale air and toxins from your body.
- If you wish, count to maintain your rhythm, inhale for a count of 5, hold your breath for 15, exhale for 10. Dr Andrew Weil teaches an 8-8-8 count to keep it simple and easy to remember.
- Repeat sequence 5 times
Meaning: I drink deeply from the well of life
Benefits: Relaxes the body and nervous system, purifies the respiratory system by expelling stale air and toxins, relieves tension and calms emotions, improves concentration (great to do before an important meeting or test), and great for the complexion.
I believe that this one simple exercise can benefit us all is so many ways. It can be a big step toward wellness and happiness. Better than Prozac, if you ask me!