Breathing: we all have a super power!
We all breathe in when we come to life and withdraw from life with a last breath.
Breathing is a special function in our body. It is part of the bodily processes that occur automatically, such as blood circulation (heart rate, blood pressure), digestion, body temperature regulation (sweating..), etc. It works while we sleep, without us having to think about it. It is also self-regulated: it intensifies during an effort, for example. Question for you: can you consciously change your the rate of your heart beat, your digestion? No. On the other hand, you can modify, control, consciously act on your breathing and this has an impact on all other bodily processes with multiple benefits on your health. This is why I say breathing is a super power! And we often overlook it.
Breathing has a decisive influence on our psyche. It modulates self-awareness as well as cognitive abilities and emotions.
The practice of breathing exercises has quite rapid and profound effects on our physical, mental and emotional state. Depending on our needs, it can provide relaxation, reduce stress and anxiety, improve your sleeping patterns, improve your concentration and memorization capacities, help you distance yourself from daily events, boost your energy and vitality, and even strength your immune system ... Daily training will change your body's internal chemistry and provide long term benefits.
Most breathing exercises aim to achieve two types of results: be conscious of your breathing and modulate it to obtain a slower, fuller and more regular breathing. How do they work? Still under study, it seems that several mechanisms are involved: slow, deep breathing stimulates the parasympathetic nervous system, the one whose function is to slow down the body. In addition, focusing brain resources on breathing is a way of withdrawing from the outside world and keeping worries or stressful elements at bay.
6 breathing exercises to get started
- Pay attention to your breathing, to take a break: several times a day, for 30 seconds, seated, back straight and shoulders open, take the time to follow your breathing, without trying to modify it: feel the inspiration, then exhale and pay attention to the brief retention time (a fraction of a second) in between the time you breathe in and out
- Abdominal breathing, to relax: lying on your back, one hand on the abdomen, start by breathing out to empty the lungs. Then breathe in through your nose and breathe out through your mouth, slowing the flow as if you were blowing through a straw and pressing lightly to feel the abdomen emptying out. Do 10 repetitions.
- Square breathing, to slow down: breathe in for 4 seconds, then hold your breath, lungs full, for 4 seconds. Then exhale for 4 seconds and hold your breath, empty lungs, for 4 seconds ... and so on for 5, 10, 15, 20 cycles ...
- Cardiac coherence, to manage stress (among other benefits): breathe in for 5 seconds through your nose and breathe out for 5 seconds through your mouth, during 5 minutes, 3 times a day (morning, noon and night).
- Bouncing on springs, to energize yourself: stand up, feet firmly anchored, inhale, hold the air in, then jump as if you were on springs. When you are at the end of your ability to hold in the air, stop and breathe!
- The 4-7-8 technique, to quickly fall asleep : breathe in for 4 seconds through your nose, hold your breath, lungs full, for 7 seconds, then breathe out through your mouth for 8 seconds.