by Matt Cates
Whether from meditation or yoga, a yawn from being tired, a sigh of grief, or laugh of joy, our breath has more power than we often give thought to. I believe that’s because breathing is so automatic most of us don’t even notice when our patterns change even when we become stressed to the point of holding our breath. This lack of attention to one of our most basic needs can however have great implications.
You may be surprised at the domino effect of health issues that can start with such a simple thing as breathing. Whether it is a dramatic event such as passing out or a more subtle condition such as a contracted rib-cage from the shallow breathing over time brought on by stress.
Becoming more mindful of how we breathe and what stresses you out is a good first step for anyone interested in how they can treat themselves better.
While there are many wonderful breathing techniques, I’ll only discuss one. I think the best way to start is every hour or so check in with your body.
Drop your shoulders and take a deep breath in through your nose and then slowly out through your mouth (it’s OK to make a little noise even). Make sure to breathe all the way in and expand your rib-cage as far as it will go and exhale all the way out so you get a full range of motion. It’s just that easy, and odds are you’ll notice the difference the first day.
I do recommend looking up all the breathing techniques you can get your hands on. Find which one(s) you like the most. This is just the one I am particularly fond of, and find myself coming back to time and time again.
Some additional resources: