by Phyllis Childres. RN, CHC (with Ed Childers, D.O)
You will improve your physical health and gain greater peace of mind through one very simple, freely available technique—conscious breathing… simply bringing more awareness to your breath.
Here are some of the benefits of practicing conscious breathing. It:
1. Lowers our heart rate and blood pressure
2. Oxygenates the body and the organs to promote energy and healing
3. Helps to detoxify the body by removing pollutants, allergens and toxins
4. Relaxes and relieves anxiety, stress and tension in the body
5. Lowers the release of Cortisol, a hormone that tells our body to store fat and not build muscle
6. Fires up our metabolism to burn food just as oxygen stokes a flame in your wood fireplace
7. Increases Endorphin release in the body, producing a sense of relaxation and well-being
8. Turns on full digestive power by turning off the stress response
Breathing is typically an unconscious act. It provides oxygen, without which we could not survive. But our fast-paced lifestyles leave us in a chronic state of fight or flight, and we tend to have shallow chest breaths. This results in diminished oxygen and a build-up of carbon dioxide and other toxins. When we engage in slow deep breathing, we promote the relaxation response.
So how do we practice conscious breath work?
- Sit in a comfortable position with a straight spine, feet supported or flat on the floor
- Close your eyes
- Imagine your breath flowing through your heart
- Deeply, slowly, inhale through your nose, expand your stomach, then your ribs, then your upper chest (as a balloon fills with air)
- Hold your breath for a few seconds
- Exhale through your nose slowly, completely emptying your lungs, upper chest first, then your ribs and then your stomach
- Repeat 2 more times (at first – then increase the repetitions as this becomes a comfortable consistent daily practice)
What did you notice? Did you notice the powerful effects of the breath work? The more you practice, the more you will see results.
If you want to learn more about conscious breathing practice for health and vitality, check out my 8-week Eat And Thrive Program starting on May 11, 2019.