We breathe over 20,000 times a day. However, we don’t pay attention to our breathing process unless we are cut off it. But, we should pay attention because with every breath we take we also take life supplies from each one of our body’s trillions of cells. Breathing also cleans our body from the toxic carbon dioxide.
Many ancient traditions such as yoga and meditation, include controlled breathing as a fundamental element of their practices. For instance, the ancient Yogis deeply believed in the powerful and healing power of our breath.
The reality is, many of us don’t breathe properly. Most people tend to breathe shallowly or through their chest while they need to breathe through their diaphragm. When one is constantly engaged in diaphragmic breathing it is called controlled breathing.
Controlled breathing is a conscious control and awareness of one’s breathing pattern. It is a practice that provides many health benefits to the person practicing it. Some of those benefits include a boost of energy, improved brain functions, healthier organs etc.
However, the most important health gain from this practice of controlled breathing is repressing the body’s fight-or-flight mechanism that gets activated whenever the organism is under stress.
Proper and controlled breathing indeed helps in alleviating the stress in disorders such as insomnia, anxiety, hypertension, and aging. It triggers the relaxation response of the body and it activates the parasympathetic nervous system which is responsible for slowing down the heart-rate and digestion which makes one feel calm.
So, controlled breathing = parasympathetic nervous system activation = relaxation response = full bliss.
Here are 3 easy and quick ways to activate your body’s parasympathetic nervous system through controlling your breathing.
1. COHERENT BREATHING
Lie down or sit upright. Your hands should be placed on your stomach. Breathe slowly while expanding your stomach to the count of 5. Take a brief pause, and then slowly breathe out to the count of 6. Try to do this exercise for 10-20 minutes every day.
2. CORE BREATHING
Sit up straight on the floor or at the edge of your chair. Put your hands on your stomach. While you inhale, expand your stomach and lean forward. While you exhale, curl forward and squeeze your breath out until you are out of it. Repeat this process 15-20 times.
3. THE HOP TECHNIQUE
Stand up straight with your elbows bent at 90 degrees and your palms up. Inhale deeply while drawing back your elbows behind you. Keep your palms up. Then, quickly exhale and say or mouth the word ‘hot’ as you thrust your palms forward and turn them down. Repeat 15-20 times.
ENJOY YOUR INNER PEACE!