Are you breathing properly?
The only thing that stays with us, from the time we’re born to the time we die.. is our breath.Everything else changes, your friends, family, jobs, situations and time.. everything except your breath.
But does your breath ever change? Of course it does when you’re stressed, or angry or sad; happy or excited. Every emotion we experience, is with the changes in breath. Since breath is a link between body and mind, our emotions sometimes make us forget to breath properly.
Can you pause for a moment right now and check how you’re breathing? If you feel you have low energy or feel tired, one of the reason could be shortage of oxygen to your body.
So how do we ensure we breathe properly? Anders Olsson in his book The Power of Your Breath gives these five simple principles that can help us
1) Breathe through the nose
Because if you're mindful you will notice you are probably not. The function of the nose is the draw in the air, filter it before it goes into your lungs. When you breathe through your mouth, you’re sucking in unfiltered air bringing with it virus and bacteria. So be kind to your body, and breathe through through your nose.
2) Engage your Diaphragm
Notice the movement of your stomach as your breathe. Ideally when we breathe in, we should see the stomach rise slightly as the diaphragm contracts and compresses the abdominal space. As we breathe out, both the chest and the stomach fall back. This is called as Diaphragmatic Breathing. Notice how kids breathe. That is a proper breathing. As adults though, we do exactly the opposite. So watch the movement of your belly as you breathe and engage your diaphragm.
3) Calm your mind
Just like how we work our best in calm relaxed atmosphere, our breathing too will work best when relaxed. If your mind is stressed then your breathing is also at stress. This adds further stress on your body spiralling it down to shortage of oxygen to lungs, heart and brain.
The best way to calm your mind is to identify triggers that are causing the stress and create mechanisms that can help you relax.
4) Rhythmic breathing
Everything has a natural rhythm. So does everyone. Find your natural rhythm and follow it. Rhythmic breathing synchronises your breathing with your body functions. When your mind and body are in sync with each other, finding your rhythm is easy.
5) Breathe silently
Noisy breathing can be attributed to negative aspects such as sound of exhaling heavily as if its forced or rushed. Usually this happens during exertion or when a person is unwell but it can also happen when a person is at rest or when they’re doing light activity such as washing dishes or reading newspaper.
Noisy breathing is not normal so notice activities when you’re at your noisiest and try to bring silence and rhythm to your breathing at that time. If it is out of control then I suggest you have it checked with an ENT specialist.
That's that. I hope you create a habit of conscious breathing in your life. If you need any help in understanding your breathing pattern or improve it, you can contact me here or click here to join the conversation in my private community.
You can watch the video version of this article below.