THE MOST LUXURIOUS FEELING IN THE WORLD IS A DEEP, SLOW, SMOOTH, BREATH …and it is the most healthy thing you can do for yourself.
Believe it or not, you are a terrible breather…we all are. This makes us feel stressed because we are literally suffocating ourselves. Being a shallow breather is a primary culprit of doubting ourself and feeling anxious about life. Research is revealing that breathing incorrectly is a root cause of many illnesses and disorders–from panic attacks to lung disease to digestive disorders. Learning to deepen your breathing and align your body in good posture will ease the mind and resolve much of what ails you.
good breathing is key to good posture and good posture is key to good breathing.
Not enough can be said about the importance of learning to breathe better. Dr. Andrew Weil tells us “Improper breathing is a common cause of ill health. If I had to limit my advice on healthier living to just one tip, it would be simply to learn how to breathe correctly. There’s no single more powerful–or more simple–daily practice to further your health and well-being than breathwork.” Allison Davis, for The Cut–NY Magazine, took a Breathing Class from Dr. Belisa Vranich (her book-Breathe) and said that the effects were immediate–she felt better; more calm and yet energized too; aches and pains were less and she slept better that night.
I can share my personal experience of how learning to become a “better breather” is changing my life. It helps me feel much better in general and it gives me a sense of control–knowing that I have something immediately available to comfort me and support me in stressful times. The other night I heard something that made me very upset–and it has to do with money so you can guess how much anxiety I was in. I felt betrayed, mistreated, rejected, hurt, angry, and above all panicked about my financial stability. I had a huge headache and my mind was spiraling down into all kinds of self-critical and self-defeating thoughts–I even started to blame myself, for what I am not sure but I was beginning to believe I was at fault for this news. Then it dawned on me, I needed to practice what I preach–I need to “use my body to help me feel better.” So I laid down on my back on the floor and started to breathe.
I took a few breathes and then something remarkable happened. I calmed down a little. My body started to become heavier, I could feel some muscles in my back and butt relax. The horrible constriction in my chest and aching in my neck began to give way as the breath expanded my lungs. Feeling a bit better, I started to focus on how I was breathing and took bigger breaths, the biggest breaths I could expanding my torso as much as I could. It felt so good. I focused on breathing into places in my body that felt real tight and ached. As I exhaled I imagined the pounding energy in my head flowing into the floor and down into Mother Earth. My whole body began to sink into the floor and this wonderful sensation of being held helped me hear something mystical give me permission to just lie here, be still, and let go. I remembered that there is something benevolent in life that has my best interests at heart. I started to consider that maybe I could release my hurt and judgement about the money…I even could consider forgiving–and not just them but myself. After about 15 minutes I felt completely better–no headache or heaviness and if not real happy at least much more confident and calm…and powerful. I slept well.
When all is said and done there really is no right or wrong way to breathe, so don’t let worrying about how to do it keep you from breathing better. There are some great techniques though that you may want to explore in yoga, pulmonary therapy and other great science and fitness resources. Yet it honestly comes down to just doing it. So take a breath. then take another.