The Power of Conscious Breathing

Imagine you’re walking through a Paleolithic forest 300,000 years ago, and you come face to fang with a saber-toothed tiger . Immediately your body shifts gears – your breath is instantly shallow and rapid; cortisol and adrenaline surge through your system, and your pulse and blood pressure shoot through the roof as you decide whether you’re going to fight or take flight.

While you won’t be encountering any saber-tooths today, you will probably face off against other challenges – rush hour traffic, an emergency call from your child’s school, a bounced check. Constantly experiencing, and then staying in that high-alert state that helped ancient humans survive as a species is now a potential threat to health and balance in body, mind and spirit. That kind of sustained tension can compromise the immune system as it contributes to depression and potential burn-out.

Conscious breathing, the deep, rhythmic inhalation that fills the lungs and pushes out the belly, is a practical, positive way to neutralize nervous tension. “Belly breathing” immediately switches on the parasympathetic nervous system to release stress, reduce anxiety and blood pressure, and increase energy levels.

It instantly produces a relaxation response, which puts you in a profound state of contentment and peace. Meditation, yoga and muscle relaxation can be incorporated with conscious breathing to enhance the positive benefits.

Besides rushing oxygen to your brain to give you clarity and focus, conscious breathing delivers waves of O 2 to every cell, facilitating the release of toxins throughout your body as it simultaneously pumps up your speed and endurance. Medical research shows a conscious breathing practice can help prevent subsequent myocardial infractions in heart attack patients.

Other benefits of conscious breathing include:

  1. Increasing emotional awareness, and releasing past hurts . People suffering from anxiety, depression, addictions, low self-esteem and even weight issues were able to better handle their health opportunities with a regular practice of conscious breathing.
  1. Reducing both chronic and acute pain . Conscious breathing is an important component of the Lamaze method of natural childbirth, which was first popularized in the 1950s.
  1. Personal and spiritual growth . All major spiritual traditions incorporate conscious breathing into their practices. Deep breathing helps facilitate a spiritual connection to the divine by triggering love, joy and forgiveness. It also enhances our awareness of our unity with everyone and everything in the universe, bringing optimum health and balance to the body, mind and spirit.

To reap the benefits of conscious breathing, find a quiet space where you won’t be interrupted. Sit or lie down, and take a normal breath. Then take a deep breath, breathing in slowly through your nose. Allow first your chest, then your belly, to rise. Observe how your abdomen expands fully as your lungs fill with air. Now, slowly breathe out through your mouth or nose. Practice at least 10-20 minutes daily for maximum results.

Experience the healing power of conscious breathing during your visit to the Optimum Health Institute missions in San Diego and Austin, Texas. During your stay, our caring team will support your journey to optimum health and share the tools you need to continue the holistic healing lifestyle program at home. To learn more about OHI, visit our website at www.OptimumHealth.org . To make your reservation, call us at (800) 993-4325 .

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