Updated: Jun 24, 2019
What if I told you there was a substance you could use that promotes healing in the body and the mind without side effects and it is completely free? Would you use it? That substance is the air that is all around us 24/7.
Deep down we know that breathing is important and good for us but we tend to underestimate just how vital, powerful and healing it is. This is unfortunate but not overly surprising. After all there is no big money in people being able to heal themselves. Air is tax free and if we utilized it fully what would happen to the large corporations that provide healing solutions for us? The medical, pharmaceutical and mental health industries among others would lose business. If the benefits of breathing could be sold in a pill it would be a best seller but when it's free and comes from within we are less interested. Why is this so? That's not to say that these industries don't have great value in many situations but there is some vested interest in promoting the idea that our capabilities to heal ourselves are limited. On top of this, as kids most of us were not taught to how to breathe in school or that how we breathe is important. As long as everything seemed to be functioning ok it wasn't a concern. We learned how to breathe to survive but not to thrive.
Using your breath to heal is not necessarily a quick fix but the results are profound and unshakable with a little patience. This is another thing that can take some warming up to since we live in a fast paced results driven society that constantly promotes instant gratification products and services. But quick fixes often come with side effects and don't address the root cause of pain and suffering.
So how can breathing improve my life?
There is a lot out there about breathing and it may seem confusing or overwhelming. The first thing we can do is take some time in our day to breathe deeply. Shallow breathing starves us of oxygen and limits breath reaching deep into the belly. This can encourage a sympathetic fight or flight stress response. By breathing into our belly we use our primary breathing muscle the diaphragm. This movement creates a massaging effect on our organs. In addition as humans we are made of mostly water with much of this being stored around the belly and organs. Deep breathing increases circulation of otherwise stagnant fluid, blood and nutrients helping us to detoxify, break down food better and improve the function of our organs.
Ok where should I start?
Start simple. Find some times in your day to take 5 deep breaths. Repeat this a few times a day and you have a breathing practice just like that. Over time this may build naturally from here and become increasingly enjoyable. I like to do this when I find myself instinctively reaching for my phone on a bus for example. Or right before eating a meal. At work is another great place to do this while also helping to reduce stress. Notice how you feel after the 5 breaths. We have a youtube video that teaches some breathing basics here to help guide you - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1T4tLqueI2Q&t=5s
To go deeper and improve the quality of your breathing or experience a shift in state or some release it is best to start with an experienced breathwork facilitator. There are many great resources, methods and facilitators out there. My training is in the Wim Hof Method of breathwork as well as Breathwave conscious connected breathing. Do some research and see what resonates with you but don't wait too long. Start now and take back control of your breath, the key to unlocking your hidden potential.
"When you own your breath nobody can steal your peace" - Unknown