Did you know that correct breathing is associated with reducing anxiety, depression, insomnia, heart conditions, auto-immune and neural conditions, high blood pressure, chronic fatigue, asthma, digestive issues such as irritable bowel syndrome? It also improves core stability and supports the spinal, head, ribcage and pelvic alignment, thereby reducing muscular tensions caused by joint misalignment (including neck and jaw tension, teeth grinding, headaches and disc issues). Essentially our posture, our organ function, our mindset is supported by correct breathing.
It's easy to believe we breathe ok because we can inhale and exhale, however the effects of a diaphragm that is stuck or has reduced or jagged rhythm impacts the whole of our being. 'Chest breathing' can be felt with the breath around the collar bones and upper breast bone (and can also be associated with 'reverse breathing' where the abdominals pull in on the inhale forcing the breath to stay high in the chest) it is associated with elevated blood pressure, asthma, anxiety, feel overstimulated, lacking focus, poor memory, neck tension, tight thoracic spine and weak pelvic floor. 'Belly Breathing' can be felt where there is limited or no movement of the chest area, just the lower abdomen moves with the breath, reduces stimulation to the heart and can be associated with low blood pressure, lethargy, chronic fatigue, weak abdominals, core and lumbar.
Take a moment in your day to check how you breathe, best to do it laying down when the postural muscles get to be relaxed, and see where the breath is. Note it does change depending on how we are feeling mentally and emotionally so re-check your breath when feeling any angst. Put your hands on where is moving the most, notice how you are feeling mentally/emotionally/physically, is it more upper chest, lower belly, whole torso, are you tense anywhere? You can adjust the rhythm of your diaphragm by taking an in breath through the nose and three times blow out through pursed lips and empty the lungs completely like you are blowing out 100 candles, this way the diaphragm is pressed deep right up into the ribcage. After three rounds come back to breathing in and out of your nose and you may find the diaphragm has been re-set with a deeper smooth flowing rhythm and the breath may feel more low and wide, like the waist and rib cage, even back body are breathing also. Spend a little time here letting the body breathe like this - then check in again how do you feel mentally/emotionally/physically. I would recommend doing this anytime you are feeling uneasy or stressed.
What if all you need to do is spend some quality time on developing your breath each day to heal, any of the ailments or conditions you may be struggling with, what if it was as simple as adjusting and maintaining your breathing pattern?
Correct breathing is also beneficial for anyone wanting to start or enhance a meditation practice, you will find the rhythm of the diaphragm impacts the mind so it is extra challenging to meditate if is not flowing with ease. You will enhance your will power, mindset, memory and concentration let alone the physical benefits listed above, the benefits are limitless. Start with the technique above each day, or if you wish to a seek more personalised practice book in with me for a Breathwork Coaching session 45mins or even better join me on a retreat where we practice every day!
In my opinion it is the simplest most profound tool we have in finding our own peace, and being the master of it!