From the moment we are born we, before we open our eyes, we are breathing in oxygen – the fuel we need to survive. Breath is something that is instinctive and natural, and every system in the body relies on it to perform daily and life-giving functions. When we apply various techniques, our breath can also:
- Provide a greater sense of mental clarity
- Aid with insomnia
- Assist with digestion
- Improve our immunity
- Reduce symptoms of depression
- Reduce stress and anxiety
When we are confronted with challenges and scenarios our reactions to them are controlled by our brain’s stress response, also known as our ‘fight’ or ‘flight’ triggers. While stress is a natural occurrence and an essential response to protect us from dangerous situations, it can cause problems when this response is triggered by the more mundane, day-to-day events, such as money concerns, sitting in traffic, and other modern day troubles. Prolonged or ongoing periods of stress can take its toll on our mental and physical well-being.
When we consciously change the way we breathe we are sending signals to the nervous system and letting our bodies know that we are safe, this in turn, can slow our heart rates down and promote feelings of calm.
While science is just beginning to provide evidence that the benefits of this ancient practice are real, breath control, or pranayama, to promote concentration and improve vitality, has been used by yogis for centuries.
This month we challenge you to practice more mindful breath. Each day, do 5 rounds of breathing exercises to help you feel calmer and more grounded. Try our simple video below as a guide for when to inhale and exhale.
Tips for building a daily routine:
- Choose a place where you can welcome breath comfortably and quietly.
- Don't overthink it too much.
- Be intentional with your focus.
- Try to practice once or twice a day, always at the same time.
- Try to practice at least 10 minutes each day.
To get started, there are three basic breathing exercises you can learn more about here.