Breathing is something that we take for granted and it seems like a pretty simple function of the human body. However, it is fundamental to our health and wellbeing to do it properly. It’s not until I started to practice yoga that I became more aware of my breathing and realised that many of us are probably doing it wrong.
It is common to take shallow breaths which is an anxious type of breath. It is usually the kind that is triggered by the fight or flight response. This type of breathing can be more stressful for the body and lead to a lack of oxygen and energy.
Breathing correctly is really important for good health and can lead to more energy, improved health, less anxiety and feeling better and happier in general.
Learning how to breathe properly is quite easy once you get into the habit. Firstly, breathe through the nose. Your breath should go in and out through the nose. Use your diaphragm (situated at the bottom of your chest) to breathe. When you breathe in it should reach all the way down to your belly. Exhale slowly and fully. That’s about it and it will take a bit of practice before you are doing it without any conscious effort.
Five benefits of breathing correctly:
By breathing properly all your cells will get enough oxygen which leads to better circulation and healthier skin. If your cells are receiving all the oxygen they need they are also better able to eliminate toxins in the body.
When you breathe properly your body will automatically move into an upright position. It’s impossible to get enough oxygen in a slouched position. An improved posture will lead to improved wellbeing in general because it maximises delivery of oxygen to the tissues and organs leading to better health and better skin.
You will have more energy and better stamina when you improve the oxygen delivery to your body. You will feel less lethargic and your mood will be improved.
Easier to Relax
By taking control of our breathing this can lead to feeling more relaxed and our body tunes in and becomes relaxed as well which leads to better functioning and we are more able to cope effectively with stress.
Correct breathing can lead to better quality sleep and this has a positive effect on every area of your life including mood, skin and brain function. Alternate nostril breathing practised before bedtime is the best natural tranquiliser. Check out this instruction video in the Yoga Journal to learn this technique.