Breathing for good health and vitality

Becoming more aware of your breathing can be invaluable to improving your health and well being. All too often we sit for long hours at the computer and our breathing becomes shallow. This encourages tight muscles in the neck, a lack of flexibility in the muscles between the ribs and tightness in the upper back. Shallow breathing is often associated with stress and anxiety and learning to breath correctly can reduce these symptoms allowing the body to relax.

Here is a simple method to help you gain a correct breathing pattern.

Place your right hand on your abdomen at the waist line, left hand on your chest in the centre. Notice your breathing pattern. As you breathe in your tummy should rise and as you breathe out your tummy should fall. Notice if your shoulders are rising as you breathe, taking the air more so into your upper chest. This could be an indication you are shallow breathing.

Now breathe normally in through you nose and out through your nose, allow your tummy to make contact with your right hand on your abdomen. This will help you to engage the diaphragm and lower ribs drawing air deep into your lower lunges where oxygen absorption is most efficient. Take a few moments to experience this breathing pattern, relax your neck and shoulders.

Now to deepen the experience of relaxation remind yourself of an aroma, sound or colour that gives you pleasure. As you exhale turn your attention to the weight of your body and surrender your body weight to gravity. If you are holding anxiety and tension you may feel a rise in your emotions. Do not stifle them. Acknowledge them. When a thought comes into your mind, acknowledge the thought and then let it go. Again do not block the thoughts. Maintain the practice for as long as is comfortable. Short spells to begin with is fine.

Practicing little and often helps to calm your mind restoring equilibrium to mind and body.

A superb reference to help you learn and understand the importance of breathing for good health and vitality is ‘The Breathing Book’ by Donna Farhi.

Read, practice and enjoy! Bridgette.