Breathing, we do it all the time unconsciously, it's one of the vital components that keeps us alive. It's so essential to our health that when practiced consciously it can be used to speed healing, quieten the mind, reduce stress and can offer drug-free solutions to help lower blood pressure, reduce anxiety and calm an upset digestive system.
Deep breathing is a powerful way to control emotions, for example, if you are very upset, taking a few deep breaths takes attention away from your mind and puts it in your body reducing and neutralising the negative emotion. It's difficult to be upset when your breath is slow, calm, regular and deep. We tend to hold our breath went we are upset, scared, anxious or angry which in today's hectic society these emotions happen much too often, to a point shallow breathing becomes a habit. Asthma is one of the illnesses that can develop from constricted breathing.
Simple tips to get started:
Just start observing your breath throughout the day and take moments to be conscious of your breathing. Is it shallow or deep, is it regular or irregular? Take stock how your body feels, do you feel tense or calm? Where is the tension located? This simple exercise will help you reconnect with yourself, calm the mind and help to become present gradually.
Start with the exhale.
The best advice to start breathing more deeply comes from Dr. Weil who suggests that it's easier to breath out first because a lot more muscles and effort that are involved in inhaling. Once you exhale until you can't anymore, a deep breath will occur naturally. Do this several times a day. Plus this will develop intercostal muscles.
Make some time everyday, at least 15 minutes to focus on deepening your breathing. At the start of the day or before bedtime are ideal and even more so if you do it twice a day. Find somewhere comfortable and quiet, close your eyes, sit up straight, relax and draw attention to the rhythm of your breathing, exhale and let the inhale happen naturally. Try to relax more each time you exhale.