Take a deep breath! How does it feel? Breathing is something we do continuously and yet, we rarely think about it. Breathing happens automatically and is the first and last thing we do with our lives. We can go days with out water, weeks without food but only a few minutes without a bbreath! And yet, most of us never think about how we are breathing, or how we can rely on our breath to calm ourselves, help us process emotions and energize ourselves!
With my yoga practice and work with Transformational Breath®, I have learned how the breath can be used, to help bring us into the present moment, wake up our bodies, provide us energy and purge ourselves of emotions and toxins we no longer wish to carry with us.
Generally speaking most of us only use 20-30 % of our lung capacity on an average breath. Isn’t that nuts??? The air we breathe provides us with up to 70 % of our energy- but no one ever talks about this. On our exhale, we can eliminate up to 70% of our body’s toxins!! Imagine how much more energized you would feel if you took a full deep breath with every inhale and how many toxins you could purge with a deep exhale. These toxins include negative thoughts and feelings- you know, the stuff that weights us down and zaps our energy and light?
When we encounter an emotionally unpleasant event such as fear, anger, frustration we actually hold our breath as a way of protecting ourselves from this situation. When we hold our breath, we can’t feel. While this may serve us in a scary situation, it works to our disadvantage when we have a habit or pattern of holding our breath. We remain in the fear, anger, resentment etc.
The only way to get past these emotions is to go thought them, and to go through them we need to use the breath. By taking a long & deep diaphragmatic breath and letting it go, we are actually pulling in enough air to fill our lower lobes of our lungs. When we do this, this activates calming neurochemicals in the brain and helps us relax. The physical work of breathing allows the fear or anger to be felt. The magic of the breath is that feeling the feelings while we simultaneously relax our minds, allows us to move through the fear and anger.
This practice can take a little getting used to. Often we have lifelong patterns of avoiding unpleasant emotions, but the avoidance is actually working against us. If we want to move on, we have to move through..
To perform a diaphragmatic breath, sit up straight and place your hand as low on your abdomen as you can. Take in a deep breath with your nose or mouth and feel your tummy expand (fill) with air first. Allow the breath to fill you lower abdomen first, followed by the upper abdomen area and chest. As you exhale, release the air from your chest first, then upper abdomen and finally lower abdomen.
Deep breathing is also great to calm the mind chatter, or monkey brain we sometimes get. The neurochemical released when the lower lobes of the lung are filled relax us and calm us. Sometimes, I will engage in alternate nostril breathing too. I maintain the same deep diaphragmatic breathing while breathing through one nostril at a time.
I start by closing the left, and then exhaling through the right nostril, followed by an inhale. Then I close the right nostril and exhale and inhale through the left. The pattern is like this- exhale (R), inhale (R), switch, exhale (L), inhale (L), switch. I recommend doing this for 2-5 minutes .
By focusing on our breath it allows us to become present. In the present moment fears of the future cannot reside and neither can ghosts of the past. In my experience, most of my mind chatter is regarding one of these places. Simple breathing exercises resets my mind, calms me, energizes me and fills me with love and light!
To learn more or if you just want to send me your feedback you can contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or 951-375-6425