You’d think something as basic to our existence as breathing would be natural and we’d automatically do it correctly, but not so. There are thousands of studies, including some done at Harvard Medical School, that show the great benefits of proper breathing.
Research has shown that proper breathing can slow down our heartbeat, stabilize our blood pressure, and even do wonderful things for us emotionally.
The yogic tradition of India has known for thousands of years that proper breathing can give us more energy and bring us very deep relaxation. In fact, according to the yogic tradition there are ways to use your breath so that you can powerfully increase your prana, which is the Sanskrit word for life force. And, not only that, there are ways that we can exhale to release toxins from your system.
Correct breathing can improve all our body systems, from our digestion to our elimination, from our clarity of mind to our emotional balance and everything in between!
When you feel clearer, and more balanced, you’re living more in the Miracle Zone.
Today we want to share with you three specific breathing practices that we love.
You don’t have to do all three but give at least one of them a try and see what happens.
#1: Most of us breathe from our upper chest. When you breathe from your upper chest, it puts you in the fight or flight mode and will create more anxiety for you. But breathing diaphragmatically creates greater ease, it can calm down your anxiety, and will relax and revitalize you. You want to breathe from your diaphragm.
Here’s what you do…put your hand on your diaphragm, or your solar plexus area. And take a nice deep breath in through your nose, as you do this, feel your diaphragm and your solar plexus area expanding. You might even feel the expansion out the sides of your ribs. Your hands should move out with the inhale. Then as you exhale, also through your nose, feel your diaphragm empty. When you do this, your hand’s going to be moving in. That’s proper breathing, breathing through the diaphragm. If it doesn’t come to you naturally, just practice it, and over time it will become natural.
#2: The second breath that we recommend is called breath awareness. This involves just spending a few minutes during your day with your eyes closed, noticing your breathing. It’s that simple. What you want to do is to put your attention on your breath and follow its natural rhythm as you breathe in and out through your nose. Doing this will quiet and relax your mind. Anytime you’re feeling particularly worried or anxious you can simply close your eyes and do a minute or two of breath awareness and you’ll notice how much your mind settles down.
#3: The third technique is called alternate nostril breathing or “nadi shodhana” in Sanskrit. We both do this for 5 or 10 minutes a day before our daily meditation practice. The first thing you do is you take your right hand and with the thumb of your right hand you close off your right nostril. Then very gently you inhale through your left nostril. Then you close off your left nostril, that means just press against that nostril and close it off with your ring finger of your right hand, and you exhale through your right nostril. And then you inhale through your right nostril. Just continue in this way and what this does is it not only slows down and deepens your breath but it also harmonizes the right and left hemispheres of the brain, which ends up giving you more balance both physically and emotionally. It also activates the parasympathetic nervous system and some studies have shown that it can lower your blood pressure.
Another great benefit of breathing in these three ways, is that you’ll breathe in more negative ions. Negative ions are the good ions. We know it sounds weird because you think the negative ions are going to be the bad guys, but the negative ions are what you want more of. They are the invisible molecules that you find in places like the beach or near waterfalls, or even in the shower. Whenever there’s water flowing or crashing down, it releases negative ions.
When you breathe them in they make you feel alive. They increase your serotonin and the flow of oxygen to your brain, and this will also reduce anxiety and even depression. That’s why you may notice how great and clear you feel in the shower, or when you’re walking on the beach, or sitting near a waterfall. When there’s a lot of negative ions, you will feel happier, clearer and more at ease.
Until we’re together again, we wish you many miraculous moments of deep peacefulness, great vitality, and the strength, wisdom and courage of ten tigers.
Please share a comment below about what you think about breath work, prana, or negative ions…