Another week done and here we are. Last week I asked you to consider accountability, responsibility, self-love and self-care. This week we’re going to delve into something a little bit more tangible: BreathingDo we really need to define the breath?
The funny part about that question is that most people don’t realize that the breath is both voluntary and involuntary. They don’t realize how many muscle groups are involved in breathing. They don’t realize that breathing happens not just in the mouth and nose and lungs, but throughout the whole of the body. Many people think that all we breathe in is oxygen and that we always exhale all of our carbon dioxide. There’s so much more to the breath than we think!
How is Breathing a component of Wellness?
We’re going to go with three main areas here:
- Breathing impacts cognition – Most of us breathe incorrectly and over half of us are regularly doing something called over-breathing. It’s what leads to hyperventilation and is totally acceptable at the end of a workout, but not so much just sitting around and in our daily lives. Failing to breathe properly and to get enough breath can create attention disorders and the inability to think and process information accordingly.
- Breathing increase emotion – Here is where breath can go either way. The more slowly we breathe, the more relaxed we can become. Whereas, the more quickly we breathe, the more anxious we can become. Our breath can exacerbate panic, nerves, and anger just as it can calm and soothe.
- Breathing influences performance – Just like our bodies depend on the breath to help us think, they also depend on the breath to help us move. Over-breathing can cause us to tire easily and have poor muscle function. Full breaths allow us greater strength and endurance of the body as a whole.
I Am One Girl Breathing….
If you’ve ever taken one of my classes, followed the blog long enough, or even read the title of this blog, you’re already aware that I’m all about the breath! All yoga instructors should be!
However, I get in trouble with my breath from time to time. I have this bad habit of allowing a laughing breath to escape when I’m nervous or feel overwhelmed. I also get called out on slow breathing when I’m frustrated. I’ve heard one too many times, “that’s right; deep breaths” in a negative context.
The thing that I love about breathing, though, is it’s ability to change the moment for me. I use my breath more often than not to calm myself and allow myself to find sleep, peace, or a connection inward. You can use the Breathing Tag on this post to find more of my posts about breathing and videos of Breathing Exercises.
Today I just want you to consider your breath much like I did in the post Let’s Breathe. What does your breath do for your wellness? For me, today, it has helped me to stay centered and focused on completing my work. It is keeping my emotions in check. It is allowing me to cry in a way that doesn’t overwhelm me and leave me feeling shaken. This afternoon my breath will allow me to teach to some new students….about the breath. Tomorrow it will allow me to teach and to run.
In yoga breath is Pranayama and literally translates to mean expansion of the life force. Today my breath allows me to live and live well.
Have you breathed well today?