“Our breath is a beautiful, healing, mysterious gift.”
(Elizabeth Gilbert) #worldbreathingday
In light of #stressawarenessmonth all general yoga classes will carry a specific focus on (negative) STRESS and its associated aspects throughout this month – a topic very close to my heart.
This week was back to the very basics: the BREATH – and how to use our full lung capacity to calm ourselves down.
Yes, we breathe naturally up to 23,000 times a day, but how EFFECTIVE & EFFICIENT are these breaths?
During stressful situations, we tend to breathe rapidly and shallowly from our upper CHEST. This breathing pattern triggers an imbalance in oxygen and carbon dioxide levels making us feel tense and anxious, leading to tight shoulders and neck muscles, and causing a range of other unpleasant physical and emotional symptoms.
Deep ABDOMINAL breathing encourages full oxygen exchange, slows the heartbeat, lowers/stabilizes blood pressure, and induces a relaxed and clear-headed state.
It gets us into the desired ‘rest & digest’ state of our nervous system where healing takes place.
Focussing on releasing tight muscles in the upper front body, strengthening weak muscles in the upper back body and increasing mobility in the thoracic spine and shoulders “frees the breath”.
Poor posture also affects our mood and emotions, which changes our breathing pattern, which affects our overall health.
The importance of ‘proper’ breathing has never been more prevalent than now.
Yoga with targeted gentle movement and connected breathing exercises can help, for example, in the recovery from respiratory illnesses, including Covid-19.