A lot of us are dealing with tremendous uncertainty—will we have a job? Will my family get sick? What will life be like on the other side of this pandemic? Breathing deeply and fully can help relax your mind and keep you calm—very important for keeping your immune system strong during this health crisis. By breathing deeply, you allow the diaphragm to drop downward, which allows the rib cage to expand and create more space for the lungs to move in and out. By practicing deep breathing, increased oxygen floods into the body, helping the heart to slow down to create feelings of relaxation.
Also, deep breathing helps to release toxins. “Around 70% of our toxins are released from our body through our breath. Carbon dioxide is a natural waste product of your body’s metabolism. The benefits of breathing deeply help the systems in the body to process this more efficiently.”
- Breath Increases Energy
Oxygen is the most essential natural resource required by our cells. By breathing deeply, we restore cellular energy and give ourselves a much needed boost.
- Breath Improves the Respiratory System
One of the benefits of breathing deeply is that it helps to release tension in the diaphragm and primary breathing muscles, helping to relieve many long-term respiratory issues such as asthma and breathlessness. By opening up the chest, releasing tension from the intercostal muscles and around the scapula, erector spinae and trapezius muscles, deep breathing allows for a more relaxed posture and better all around health.
- Breath Calms the Nervous System
The sympathetic nervous system is fight-or-flight mode, which keeps our breathing shallow and stimulate the flow of adrenal and cortisol, which is very wearing on the organs of the body. Deep breathing activates the parasympathetic nervous system, which brings us into a relaxed state of being, very important for allowing our organs to rest and restore.
- Breath Strengthens the Lymphatic System
The lymphatic system depends on gravity, muscle movement, and the benefits of breath to keep flowing so that the body can be cleansed. Deep breathing can play an important role in protecting the body from bacteria, viruses and other threats to our health. By practicing deep breathing, you keep your body tonified and functioning optimally.
- Breath Releases Muscle Tension
When we are anxious or experiencing uncomfortable feelings such as anger or pain, our breath becomes shallow and our muscle tissues contract. Deep breathing helps to release this tension, preventing the body from sustaining muscle injury.
- Breath Improves the Cardiovascular System
Deep diaphragmatic breathing tones, massages and increases circulation to the heart, liver, brain and reproductive organs.
- Breath Elevates the Digestive System
Deep breathing can increase blood flow to the digestive tract, which encourages intestinal action and improves overall digestion, alleviating irritable bowel syndrome and constipation. Also, as we know, deep breathing allows for a calmer nervous system which in turn enhances optimum digestion.
- Breath Affects Our Mental State
The quality of our breath helps to relax the mind and enhance the ability to learn, focus, concentrate and memorize. The brain requires a great deal of oxygen to function and increased intake of oxygen helps us to achieve clarity and feel grounded and productive. It also relieves stress, anxiety, depression and negative thought patterns, all which is crucial to maintaining optimum health.
So how should we do it? Try this exercise for deeper, belly breathing:
Exercise: Deep Breathing
Lie on the floor in Shavasana, on your back with legs comfortably spread and arms relaxed alongside the body. Feel and connect with the ground beneath you, placing both hands on your lower belly, just below your rib cage.
Start by focusing on the inhale and exhale. Notice the rise of the inhale and the fall of the exhale. Breathing in through the nose, your belly rises, and breathing out through the nose, the belly comes down. Pause between each breath.
Can you feel the rise and fall of your belly as you breathe? This is deep breathing. Putting a bag of rice or small sandbag can help you feel and see the rise and fall even better.
Try this every day for 5 minutes to feel calmer and more vital!