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We all breath, a necessary function to live, but have you ever considered how you are breathing, and in what ways it may benefit your body? Rather than just relying on this automatic bodily function to act as it should so choose, take control of your breathing and put it to work for your mental, emotional and physical health!

Conscious breathing is the act of breathing with intention and awareness as to your experience in the moment. It allows you to focus the mind, body, and spirit in the moment, creating a connection between all of these parts of your person. For some, this can be as easy as just taking a few moments to relax the body and focus the mind, whereas for others it is a much more intense practice used to deal with periods of stress and even post-traumatic situations.

The root of many yoga and meditation practices, taking control of your body and employing a breathing technique has been found to benefit the body in many ways including:

  • Improve your mood
  • Promote healthy digestion
  • Reduce anxiety
  • Eliminate oxidative stress on the body
  • Feed healthy cells in the body
  • Reduce cravings
  • Increase mental focus
  • Lower blood pressure
  • Stimulate blood flow to your skin
  • Improve quality of sleep

Try This Powerful Breathing Exercise

This exercise is an introduction to the world of conscious breathing, designed to allow you to experience what you can do through focusing on your breathing techniques. That being said, breathing exercises can be intense and there are some people who should not be partaking in these exercises without medical supervision. If you have a history of cardiovascular disease, high blood pressure, retinal detachment, aneurysms, glaucoma, or if you have recently experienced a physical injury or surgery we recommend first speaking with a medical professional. Pregnant women should also practice caution.

Prepare a Safe Space: Anytime that you are practice breathing techniques or meditation it is important that you ensure that you have the appropriate space prepared. You want to eliminate potential distractions, choosing a quiet space where you will not be disturbed. The exercise involves lying down, so find somewhere with a firm, safe place for you to remain throughout the duration of this experience such as on a yoga mat on the floor. You may also wish to place a pillow or rolled up towel either under your head or your knees. You will want some form of timer nearby, which should be set to 20  minutes.

Step #1: Lie on your back, allowing yourself to get comfortable with any rolled up towels, pillows or blankets for warmth that you may require. Once you start you will remain in this position so it is important that you ensure that you are going to be comfortable enough to relax. Close your eyes and allow yourself to just breathe for a few minutes.

Step #2: Take a deep breath in, focusing on breathing down into the diaphragm. If you are doing this properly you stomach should move outward slightly with the breath. Slowly exhale, keeping the same pace in your breathing regardless of whether you are inhaling or exhaling. Continue focusing on this breathing pattern, being careful not to leave any gaps of time in between inhaling and exhaling. Try visualizing your breath as a circular motion, moving in and out of your body.

Step #3: Continue the circular breathing pattern while allowing your whole body to relax. Feel the tension leaving the different parts of your body with each breath. The more relaxed you are, the easier it will be to continue this breathing cycle.

Step #4: Now that you have allowed any physical tension to leave the body, turn your focus to releasing any negative emotions and energies in the body. Every time that you breathe out of your mouth envision these energies leaving with your breath.

As you continue this exercise it is important to note that you may feel your body entering into an ‘altered’ state of consciousness approximately 10 to 15 minutes into this exercise. This may present itself as an overall feeling of euphoria or tingling in your hands or feet.

 Step 5: As your timer goes off, marking the 20-minute mark, it is now time to slowly come back to your physical reality. Take the time to focus on bringing your breathing back to the way in which you would normally breathe on a daily basis. Don’t get up too quickly as you may find yourself light-headed. Take a moment to reflect upon any realizations you may have had throughout this experience.