Breath Consciously why it matters
Breathing is the first thing we do when we are born and the last thing we do before we die, but how much importance do we give to breathing? We can stay alive for long periods without eating, drinking or sleeping, but if we cannot breathe, we die within a matter of minutes.
Unfortunately, for most of us, we don’t think twice about our pattern of breathing because it’s unconscious. We breath on average 20,000 times a day and half a billion breathes in an average life time, but why is breathing consciously so important?
Our breath supplies our bodies and its various organs with oxygen which is vital for our survival.
A matter of fact, through breathing we provide oxygen to our body which must be replenished continuously and steadily, so it is important to know how to breathe correctly.
Furthermore, if there is a lack of oxygen then the blood must flow faster increasing your heart rate and constricting your body to work harder. With each breath we are also ridding ourselves of waste products and toxins. We not only bring oxygen to our body but also excrete toxic substances that we have created. Incorrect breathing can easily create stagnation in our bodies and damage our vital functions. Most of us only use a third of our breathing capacity and therefore, we lack the amount of oxygen the body needs on a daily basis.
“If you want to conquer the anxiety of life, live in the moment, live in the breath. When life is foggy, the path is unclear and mind is dull, remember your breath. It has the power to give you the peace”.
-Amit Ray, Beautify your Breath – Beautify your Life
Our breathing is influenced by our thoughts, and our thoughts and physiology are influenced by our breath. Learning to breathe consciously and with awareness is the fourth limb of yoga (pranayama), and it can be a valuable tool in helping to restore balance in the mind and body.
A regular breathing practice can help you to reduce stress and anxiety, increase your energy levels, create deep relaxation and heightened awareness and restore your heart rate and blood pressure all while regulating your body’s normal operating temperature.
When you experience stressful moments in your life, your sympathetic nervous system activates and you go into what’s called a fight or flight mode. Your body reacts quickly and your body’s response becomes contracted and defensive. Your breath becomes shallow and you automatically breath into the upper chest to stimulate a protective action. Hormones such as adrenaline are released and your whole self reacts to a high state of alertness. What a stressful moment with massive side effects throughout the rest of your day!
Deep breathing can calm these indications and create a sense of peace and calmness. Breathing slowly and consciously will activate what’s called your parasympathetic nervous system which induces a stress less state of mind, slowing down your heart rate, lowering your blood pressure and over all calming your senses from complete alertness to a more relaxed state. Deep breathing has an immediate impact on the mind and can calm the emotional instability. With deep breathing practice you become less attached to the immediate stress reaction and you diffuse your reactivity to emotions.
A regular practice of conscious deep breathing is one of the best tools for refining your overall well-being. Breath work or Pranayama should be taught by a qualified instructor as dangers can be involved if done incorrectly. By training your bodily systems with a regular breathing practice, you will begin to notice how conscious you become about yourself and correct breathing without concentrating on it, becomes automatic.