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Deep Breathing for Stress Management

Deep Breathing for Stress Management
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Breathe Your Way to Relaxation

Your breath is vital for your health, healing and well-being. We so often don’t even notice our own breath even though it is the reason we sustain life.

Below is a quote from Dr Jon Kabat-Zinn, pioneer of MBSR – Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction. He has a wonderful way of explaining your breath and why it’s so important:

“Take the breath, for instance. We take it so much for granted. Unless, that is, you have a bad cold or can’t breathe. Then all of a sudden, the breath may become the only thing in the world you are interested in. Yet the breath is coming in and going out of your body all the time.”

Although breathing is an automatic response, it is the perfect anchor to keep our attention focused on the present moment. At any time our ability to breathe is threatened we become immediately aware of it, which is why breathing is so widely referred to as the first object of attention in meditation practice.

As we breathe, the diaphragm is slowly moving upwards and downwards, massaging the organs and stretching the muscle attachments. At the same time, the abdominal cavity is expanding and retracting. Together these up, down, in and out movements massage the encased organs, detoxifying, promoting blood flow and pumping lymph fluids more efficiently – all helping to increase and promote good health.

Breathing fully, deeply and correctly increases our oxygen intake by allowing the lungs to fully expand and absorb maximum breath. This in turn feeds the cells and organs with vital nutrients via the bloodstream, to optimise functioning and promote good health. The more oxygen we take in the more carbon dioxide we can release as we exhale.

How Can You Maximise Your Breath?

Deep, full breaths promote the relaxation response by immediately encouraging the mind and body to slow down and release tension. When breathing is long, deep and natural it slows our heart rate, increases effective oxygen supply, promotes relaxation and a feeling of general wellbeing.

To practice, sit comfortably with your spine upright or laying straight back, and start to focus your attention on your breath. Notice the sensations of the air moving in through your nose and throat, filling your lungs and expanding your stomach, and then escaping slowly and evenly through your mouth. Gradually increase the length of both inhalation and exhalation until both are long, slow and approximately of the same count.

Inhaling = lungs expanding, belly swelling, abdomen stretching, fresh oxygen.

Exhaling = air expelling, belly contracting, chest falling, diaphragm rising, inner calm.

 

Watch my NEW MindBodyFood TV episode on the benefits of deep breathing!

Deep Breathing MBF TV

Namaste

Viki xo

 

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