6 Steps to Tap into the Power of Conscious Breathing
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 oxygen 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:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
You can enjoy these benefits of conscious breathing right now. Here’s how:
- Find a quiet place (no, not the movie). You’re looking for a spot where you won’t be interrupted.
- Sit or lie down. Go ahead. This will only take a moment.
- Take a normal breath. Simply inhale and exhale once at a normal rate (we usually breathe at 10-20 breaths/min).
- Then inhale deeply. Now breathe in slowly through your nose. Allow your chest, then your belly, to rise for a count of four. Observe how your abdomen expands fully as your lungs fill with air.
- And exhale slowly. Breathe out through your mouth or nose. Don’t force it. Let it come easy for a count of four.
- Commit time to practice. That felt good, right? Now practice at least 10-20 minutes daily for maximum results.
Find even more motivation and support at the Optimum Health Institute missions in San Diego and Austin. (800) 224-2620