Breathing? Tick. Breathing well? Possibly not! Inhaling and exhaling is something we do over 20,000 times a day yet sometimes every single breath goes unnoticed. Breathing is one of the body’s only actions which is both voluntary and involuntary and therefore breathing is something we can learn to have some control over. In just a few deep conscious breaths, we can shift our state of mind from an anxious flight or fight setting to a more relaxed mode. So why don’t we do this more often?
With today’s ever-increasing pace of life, sometimes we may feel like ‘we don’t have time to breathe’. Its no wonder stress levels are higher than ever, immune diseases are on the increase and depression in both young and old is at an all time high. At such times, we often look towards external sources to fix to our strung out feelings, but a healthier, more natural way to help us through stressful periods could be right under our nose.
There are many breathing exercises available today which can help us improve our innate breathing pattern. We can exercise our respiratory muscles to work to their full potential and in turn we can experience how breathing well can steady any fluctuating moods.
Transformational Breath®, is a self-healing technique which can help people access the full potential of their breathing system for better physical, emotional and mental wellbeing. The connected pattern of conscious breathing is a natural, safe and easy-to-learn technique, which has proven to have many benefits almost universally, including increased energy, better immune response and increased ability to deal with stress in a positive way.
Breathing controls the functioning of every cell, and the physiology of the entire body, it is no surprise that improper breathing is a contributory factor to ill health. Transformational Breath® helps correct old unhealthy patterns of breathing, releases tension from the respiratory muscles which in turn encourages a fuller, more conscious breath.
Diaphragmatic breathing is paramount to the Transformational Breath® process. Experiencing a deep breath into the abdomen is not only relaxing; it’s been scientifically proven to positively affect the heart, brain, digestive and immune system. Once the breath is moving in the abdomen, the upper lungs can be activated so eventually the breath is full, connected and active.
There are many ways we can become more aware of our breathing. Here are some exercises to help you connect with your breath, release tension from the body and calm the mind.
At Work: Sit comfortably in your chair rest your hands on your thighs. To help release tension in the shoulders and upper back: take a deep, slow inhalation through the nose and raise the shoulders to the ears. Exhale and let the shoulders go. Repeat 5 times and then rotate the shoulders backwards slowly. Be mindful of how you sit at your desk. Make sure the shoulder blades are drawn down your back, the chest is lifted and allow space between the pelvis and the rib cage. A good posture can help you breathe easier. Learning to breathe well can also help you improve your posture.
Commuting: Whether driving, on the bus or on a tube, sit and become aware of how you are breathing. Notice how the whole torso moves with each inhalation and exhalation. Make sure the lower abdomen is rising on the inhalation (this can take some practice!) Don’t force the breath, just simply observe and notice how the body naturally relaxes on the exhalation. Notice how being aware of your breathing allows you to be in the present moment.
At Home: Transformational Breath is one of the world’s most cutting edge breathwork techniques to date. Here’s a little taster you can practise on your own. Prop yourself up on the bed at a semi-reclined angle so your chest is higher than your legs. Make sure you are warm and comfortable, and that your head and neck are properly supported. Have your hands on your lower abdomen – a few inches below the navel. Relax the jaw and open the mouth wide and take a deep inhalation, belly should rise like a balloon, and exhale with a quick sigh. Keep all your focus on the inhalation. Inhalation should be about twice as long as the exhalation. Exhalation should be a quiet and relaxed.Keep the breath connected so no pauses between breaths. Repeat up to 5 minutes and notice any physical sensations in the body. Rest for one minute as you return to a normal breathing pattern – breathing through the nose.
On the Weekend: Connect with nature and be mindful of your breath as you walk. Find a park, woodland or ocean and while walking and looking at the beautiful surroundings, be mindful of how you are breathing. Inhaling deeply through the nose, expand into the belly to connect with nature and still remain present with one’s breath is extremely nourishing for the system.
Learning to breathe well can help release tension from the body release and calm the mind. Best of all, once you have learned various breathing exercises practising breathing well is completely free.
Aimee is a Transformational Breath facilitator who offers one-to-ones at The Light Centre, Moorgate. To book or enquire about up and coming workshops please visit www.thebreathingroom.co.uk.
About the author
Passionate about wellness, yoga, meditation, and raw food – Cheryl Slater heads up the social media team for Yoga Magazine and her business Soul Seed Media specialises in providing social media and PR support to holistic businesses.