Breathing. It’s something we do every day without really thinking about it. In fact, we take 20,000 breaths a day. But did you know most of us aren’t breathing properly?
Have you noticed that when you feel nervous, stressed and agitated your breath becomes small, sharp and shallow? This is because our minds and breath are linked, and we can’t function without proper breathing.
By learning how to breathe, you will become healthier, stronger, calmer and energised. It is only when our bodies are fully relaxed, and our minds are at peace, that we can truly experience total wellness.
HOW TO EXPERIENCE A FULL BREATH.
Here is a quick guide to taking a full breath. Give it a try, especially in any stressful situations. Keep practicing and I promise it will change your life.
• Sit, stand or lay down (whatever feels most comfortable)
• Put one hand on your belly
• Through the nose, inhale slowly as you expand the belly
• Take a slight pause.
• Exhale deeply and contract your belly
Breathing is also one of the best ways to deal creatively and constructively with everything life throws at you. It helps you relax, feel balanced, and connected. More importantly, it supplies our organs with much needed oxygen and removes those nasty toxins from our bodies, (hello breathing after a big weekend!), so the deeper and slower your breath the more optimally your digestion and metabolism can function.
The power of breath is certainly not a new concept. It is an integral part of many practices, particularly yoga, meditation, swimming and even childbirth! Breathing isn’t all about relaxation and meditation either. It can be fun and energising too. There are many fun different breathing exercises that you can try but one of my personal faves is the Lion’s Breath. This is also a great one for stress as it relieves tension by stretching your entire face, including the jaw and tongue. You may feel a bit silly doing this one, but it just adds to the effect!
HOW TO TAKE A LION’S BREATH.
• Sit crossed legged or with your ankles under your butt.
• Place your hands on your knees. Straighten your arms and extend your fingers.
• Inhale through your nose and expand the belly.
• Exhale strongly through the mouth, making a "ha" sound. As you exhale, open your mouth wide and stick your tongue as far out as possible towards your chin.
• Inhale, returning to your normal face.
• Repeat 4-6 times.
AND HERE ARE SOME FUN BREATHING FACTS THAT YOU MAY NOT KNOW!
• Our breath is an indicator of our mood and our mood is an indicator of our breath. This means that if we change how we breathe we can change our mood.
• Breathing more slowly and taking longer breaths will reduce your appetite. Take 3-5 deep breaths before any meal or snack.
• Our lungs are MASSIVE. If they were laid out flat they would cover a tennis court.
• Breathing through your mouth over a long period of time can shrink your jaw!
• Do you find that you need to pee during the night? If you breathe with your mouth open, it shrinks your bladder.
• Toss and turn a lot in bed? This is because we naturally change sides in our sleep around every 30 minutes to maintain the balance of breath through our nostrils!
• The more long and slow breaths you can the more you will increase our lifespan.