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Mastering Stability Practices – How Breathing Optimises Your Overall Wellness

Written by: Melanie Ashley, Executive Contributor

Executive Contributors at Brainz Magazine are handpicked and invited to contribute because of their knowledge and valuable insight within their area of expertise.

 
Executive Contributor Melanie Ashley

When we take our first breath we bring our whole body into life. An old yogic saying advises “We are born with so many breathes to live this life.”


Lung shape flower

Interestingly, if we live in a perpetual state of stress, the automatic system increases our rate of respiration and our whole system over works – so we’d use allocated number of breathes quite quickly. We stop breathing. However, if we learn to elongate each breath, we can extend our life as each breath takes longer to complete its cycle. ¹

 

It’s a lovely thought which helps to consider ‘How Well Do I Breathe’. This article is simply to remind you how to breathe better.

 

Breathe consciously to improve energy, focus, calmness

 

Becoming conscious of your breathing pattern is crucial to help your awareness recognise your natural state of being, so we become acutely aware when it changes. With conscious breathing we can return to the natural state quickly, calmly, and peacefully.

 

Let us remind ourselves of the natural breathing pattern

 

Please ensure you are sitting or lying down comfortable and remove anything that restricts the movement of your abdomen. Try where-ever possible to inhale and exhale through the nostrils. If this is uncomfortable then breathe through the mouth until the nasal passage becomes clear.

 

1. Conscious exhale


Press the navel towards the lumber spine or towards the sitting bone to release the air out through the nostrils. In doing this:


  • the diaphragm creates a dome shape into the rib-cage

  • the tummy caves in towards the lumbar spine

  • air leaves the body, so you experience exhalation

  • the lungs reduce in size (assuming the muscles between the ribs (intercostal muscles) allow freedom of movement

  • there is increased pressure in the lungs and the heart

  • relaxation of the diaphragm releases pressure from the digestive organs so they are ready to receive more oxygenated blood from the next inhalation

 

2. Passive inhale


Allow the diaphragm to flatten naturally. Most people try to make a consciously inhale to fill their lungs. Please avoid this. The practice is about relaxing the whole body to create the inhalation. By simply relaxing from a conscious exhalation. In doing so:


  • the high pressure is released from the lungs

  • the air naturally enters the body, so you experience a passive inhalation

  • the lungs increase in size (assuming the muscles between the ribs (intercostal muscles) allow freedom of movement

  • the tummy becomes more dome-like

  • the flattening of the diaphragm creates downward pressure massaging the digestive organs

  • the release of pressure from the upper cavity of the chest allows the heart and lungs to revert to their natural size. In doing so, they absorb more oxygen to be carried around the body.

 

The exhalation is the most important part of conscious breathing. Why?

 

By managing the exhale:


  • the inhale happens naturally

  • there is a release of past memories and experiences hidden in the unconscious mind. These could be destructive thought patterns (e.g., rumination, depression, agitation, or anxiety ² which disturbs the breathing pattern as well as homeostasis within the body

  • we are preparing the mind and body for deeper practices to strengthen resilience

  • we are actively supporting the O2/CO2 exchange within the lungs for greater oxygen uptake

  • the mind becomes clear and focus. Awareness improves

  • we are starting the process of resetting the Fight Flight Freeze to help the mind, body and emotions remember a state of inner peacefulness as normal

  • our system becomes less reactive to triggers which means you will be able to maintain your balanced state longer and resist entering Fight Flight Fright Freeze

  • should you enter Fight Flight Fright Freeze your recovery time to your new normal state will be quicker.

 

Somewhere between complete relaxation and the active exhalation is your Optimum State of being where our Physicality, Emotional Intelligence and Psychology are perfectly balanced. 


Reset your nervous system with a practice to increase your lung capacity


You will need a quiet space, where you can be still for about 10 minutes, a timer, a comfortable place to sit or lye down.


  • Take a moment to prepare yourself for the practice of conscious breathing.

  • Repeat 3 times to yourself: 


I am going to practice conscious breathing for the health of my mind, body and emotions.”


  • Try taking 10 conscious breaths, one after the other starting with the conscious exhale, every day for 7 days and notice how many seconds you take to inhale and how may seconds to exhale. Simply make a note of this breath count and keep in a safe place.

  •  Days 8 to 14 - in increase the number of rounds by 1 additional breath each day so by day 14 you will have complete 7 respiratory rounds

  • Days 15 to 21, revert to 10 conscious breaths but increase the number of seconds of each breath by 1 additional respiratory cycle each day until you reach a new comfortable breath count. Remember you need to remain calm through-out the practice as it is likely that you will break state without achieving the purpose of the practice.

  • Days 22 to 28 increase the number of respiratory cycles by 1 everyday with your new breath count.

 

Following this for 28 days will increase your lung capacity, energy, focus and keep your mind clear. Plus, you have the foundation to explore breathing techniques to create the state of mind needed for any particular circumstance.

 

This practice forms part of the initial steps within the Pathway to Peacefulness Programme, ³ How to Cope When Life Throws You a Curve Ball. ⁴

 

Remember, continue practicing and Evolve Your Inner Harmony

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Melanie Ashley Brainz Magazine
 

Melanie Ashley, Executive Contributor Brainz Magazine

Melanie helps overworked and exhausted professionals navigate through draining life changes. She helps them find mental clarity, physical strength and emotional balance by them to reconnect with their personal truths, purpose and motivations. Melanie does this by uncovering hidden gifts, building energetic practices and opening the realm of possibilities to create a unique practice for each person.

 

Inspiration:


Shri O P Tiwariji – sited as one of the last current living Master of pranayama. Kaivalydhama Yoga School, Pune, India

 

References:


  1. Yoga Sutras Patanjali CH1v31

  2. 4 Steps to Reduce Overwhelm 

  3. To Cope When Life Throws You A Curve Ball

 

Further Reading:


  1. The Secret To Transcend Chronic Stress?

  2.  Why Resilience Can Help You Fly Towards Possibilities with Passion and Purpose

  3. How To Connect with Abundance to Embrace the Future 

  4. Download FREE PDF e-book Balance Your Breath, Transform Your Life https://www.clarity.yoga/lm-ebook1

  5. Learn More About The Pathway to peacefulness Programme https://www.clarity.yoga/pathway-to-peacefulness


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