No, today’s blog has nothing to do with my favorite Toni Braxton song. Yes, I do apologize to those of you who now have that catchy love song stuck in your head. Today, I’m asking you to "breathe again" so that you can become aware of your breathing pattern. Once you become aware of it, you can then address any flaws within it, as well be able to manipulate it so it works for you rather than against you. All of this I've just described is what's commonly referred to as “conscious breathing”.
What’s the Big Deal?
Conscious breathing (also sometimes referred to as mechanical breathing) is the art of simply being aware or present to the way that you are inhaling and exhaling, as well as mastering the act of altering this pattern to achieve varying desired wellness outcomes (very similar to meditation).
How does this relate holistically to the mind, body and spirit? Well…
Body: The body can only survive for a few minutes without breath. If we are not breathing well, we are not revitalizing our bodies. Meaning, we are not digesting and absorbing our food/nutrients properly, we are not eliminating waste efficiently, etc.
Mind: Conscious breathing not only greatly improves our physical wellbeing, but it enables us to connect with and safely release any underlying mental or emotional damage that has been preventing us from living our lives to the fullest.
Spirit: Our breath is our connection to the Most High. The diaphragm is known as the “spiritual muscle”. By not breathing properly, we are cutting ourselves off from God. Conscious breathing reconnects us to our divinity, our sense of oneness and our sense of being apart of everything.
What are the Health Benefits of This?
Appropriate breathing techniques can change your life! Many common health issues can be mildly if not completely relieved simply by making a conscious effort to breathe slower and deeper (i.e. elevated stress levels, high blood pressure, asthma, migraine headaches, anxiety, chronic pain, depression, insomnia, muscular tension, poor concentration, etc.).
In fact, ever hear or read about laughter being the best medicine? Well when we laugh, the amount of air we take in increases and the muscles in our chest loosen. Most of us have laughed so hard that we gasp for air and say “please stop making me laugh"! Increasing the amount of laughter in your life is an easy way to increase the amount of deeper, better quality breathing in your life.
Wondering exactly how to begin incorporating conscious breathing into your daily life so you can begin to experience the positive health benefits? Stay tuned for part II of this blog to get specific directions and tips on how to do so! I want you to start reaping the health benefits of conscious breathing, because the way you breathe is the way you live!
Katherine Igah-Phillips, MD, MHA
Returning to Nature, LLC.