We’ve all heard the term breath of life, but how often do we notice this vital function and realize it’s significance to our health and longevity. Changing how you breathe changes your life!
The quality of your breath determines the quality of our life!
When we change our breath we change the biochemistry of the body.
Our breath determines the energy flowing through our body, our vitality, our ability to moves toxins, release tension, and effectively heal and recover.
Yoga philosophy says that we come into life with so many breaths.
Why not learn how to make the most of them!
The quality of your breath determines your health and vitality.
To breathe better is to live better.
Your breath effects the functioning of all your organs. When we breathe with greater depth and a slower speed we help:
- Soothe our nervous system
- Reduce our stress response
- Enhance our body’s ability to renew and repair
- Support our immune response and detoxification in the body
- Improve mental clarity and concentration
- Increase energy levels
Here are three practical ways to improve the quality of your breath:
#1: Extend your exhale
Sit or lie in stillness. Bring you hands to your belly and follow your naturally occuring breath. After a few minutes, allow your out-breath to extend a moment longer. Their should be no effort just extra awareness.
Notice that as the breath extends longer on the exhale, your body begins to feel calmer. When we extend the exhale it has a positive effect on the in-breath as it fills deeper into the space that the extended exhale created.
Simply focusing on lengthening the exhale creates an almost instant sense of calm within the body.
#2 Fill from the bottom up!
With your hands on your body notice where the body moves with the breath. Notice any movement by placing the hands on the belly, the side of the rib cage, under the armpit and on the upper chest to develop an awareness of the movement of your breath.
Take your time to rest the hands on each place and feel the breath there. This awareness alone improves the breath as we better understand it’s potential for movement through the body.
Next allow the breath to fill into the belly first before filling through the middle and upper chest. On the exhale release from the belly first and feel the air moving from the belly outwards.
Guiding the inhale to fill deep into the belly encourages a fuller breath to reach the lowest depths of the lungs. When we just breathe into our upper chest we limit the benefits of the breath and can create nervousness and anxiety in the body due to shallow breathing. So breathe deep!
#3 Counting Breath
Simply adding a beat of counts to your breath in and out gradually encourages you to slow and lengthen every breath. This breathing meditation actively slows down our breathing and the focus on counting centers our mind. We therefore experience clarity, calm, and peacefulness from this simple counting practice. This is a great way to become more mindful of our breath and something we can easily do when we notice our body is nervous, our mind is busy or our stress levels are high.
There are infinite pranayama/ breath-work practices that are accessible to everybody. To discover more about the breath and its benefits for the body check out our classes and library of on-demand lessons focused on the breath.
Below is a meditation centred on the journey of the breath! Enjoy!
Remember that every breath is a breath of life!