31 Aug Use Breathing Exercises to Overcome Stress, Anxiety and Aging
Yes, you read correctly. You don’t need those fancy medications and complex health plans to make a start on reducing stress and improving your health.
Utilising your breathing is a free, natural and feel-good way to boost your existing health routine and bring positive change to your body and mind!
Why the Breath?
The way human breathe is an amazing process. It is involuntary for the most part – it occurs naturally and often without us knowing. However, it is also an action we can control and regulate.
Our ability to manipulate the breath makes it a valuable tool that can influence our minds and bodies. We can use the breath to guide ourselves towards a state of greater clarity and relaxation.
As we age our ability to breathe properly diminishes due to various factors including changes in energy levels, muscle strength, bone density and posture. Our breathing becomes shallow which restricts our supply of oxygen.
Our cells require oxygen to run various processes that keep us alive and functioning. Oxygen regulates all our bodily tissues including our organs. When oxygen is lacking our organs can’t function properly, causing serious health problems.
Too little oxygen in the body means our cells, tissues and organs break down faster and age quicker. Our immune system suffers which increases the likelihood of illness and an irritable mind.
It is clear that less oxygen in our bodies is bad, but how is having increased oxygen levels good for us?
What Oxygen Does For Us
Oxygen gives us an energy boost! It is the fuel for our cells. Appropriate levels of oxygen help our body run more effectively.
Improving cellular function greatly increases our general health. Our brains operate at higher capacities and our blood pressure is lowered. A knock on effect sees our holistic health improve and our minds and bodies thrive. Breathing exercises allow the brain to manage anxiety levels. The increase of oxygen coupled with the relaxing process of these exercises has a significant effect on the emotional self.
Breathing is linked to intense emotions. Have you ever felt your chest rise and fall rapidly as you attempt a daunting task? Fear, sorrow, depression and nervousness physically restrict the breath. Breathing exercises help you gain control of your breath and as a result more control over your mood.
Managing your emotions, together with your improved overall state of health, allows you to sleep better, build greater strength and enhance your physical and mental stamina.
Getting Started With Breathing Exercises
Conscious methods of practice such as yoga and Pilates incorporate beneficial breathing exercises.
Yoga is based on the flow of Prana energy. Prana is the life force that penetrates our existence. It resides in all beings as well as the earth and our entire universe. It is the force that ignites our bodies with consciousness and it can be accessed using the breath.
Pilates too utilises focus on the breath. Both yoga a Pilates expertly incorporate the mind and breath to bring great awareness to our bodies. This level of deep nourishment and care for ourselves is what brings about a multitude of changes in all layers of our being.
Mindful breathing is a great place to start. Simply sitting and becoming aware of your deep breathing makes you feel better instantaneously! Quieten your mind, still your body and practice visualising the life force entering your body with every breath.
Breathing exercise should not be forced. Forcing your breath will increase your levels of stress. Be kind to your body. Make it a relaxing experience and gently guide yourself to slow your inhales and exhales.
Make your breathing exercises part of your routine. Regular yoga and Pilates classes are the perfect way to integrate mindful practices such as breath work into your life.
Whether you’re at work, home, the yoga studio or the park, choose an area to allocate to your breathing practice. Wear comfortable clothing, find a comfortable position and remove any major distraction so you can find your focus.
Breathing exercises seem such simple tools to achieve better health, and it is! Stick with the ups and downs and always come back to your breath. You will see changes in your body and an increasingly positive outlook on life.