Breathing

Breathing is inherent to life.  We can go days without food or water but only minutes without air.  Breathing, like the beat of our hearts is voluntary…it just happens.  When we shift from involuntary (unconscious) breathing to voluntary (conscious) breathing, healing occurs.
In our daily lives and especially in stressful situations we tend to breath shallow.  Shallow breathing decreases the amount of oxygen we need to nourish the body and stimulates the sympathetic nervous system which is counterproductive to the relaxation response.  We can in fact learn to voluntarily control the breath.  Conscious attention to the breath is a cornerstone in cultivating relaxation techniques.
Deep breathing unequivocally stimulates the parasympathetic nervous system.  This conscious effort is a clear example of the power of the mind-body connection and the healing capacity of the breath.  Deep breathing promotes oxygenation to every cell of the body and rids the body of toxins by eliminating carbon dioxide.
With deep breathing, the mind becomes more focused and calm.  We consciously shift to an increased level of awareness and mindfulness.  Cultivating mindfulness encourages healthy lifestyle choices which optimize our well being.

2 comments:

Ann said...

Dr. Andrew Weil said when asked that "Learning how to breathe" was the most important thing he has learned in his life.

Sandra said...

If you didn't sign up for Susan's Fall Retreat on Breathing you missed a great day. This was the best retreat yet. Today's yoga class went by so fast.....I was breathing!