Breathing directly affects our nervous system. It is scientifically proven that when we breathe quickly and briefly, the brain receives a message that we are upset and tense so it begins to produce more cortisol – or commonly known as the stress hormone.
On the other hand, when we breathe longer and deeper we are sending a message to the brain that everything is fine and the whole body becomes relaxed. In this way, deep breathing calms the body, which is also confirmed by yoga teachers.
Our way of breathing is actually affected by emotions – when we are angry we breathe faster, when we are sad we breathe shallower, when we are stressed we breathe only in the upper part of the chest etc. Thus, in order to affect the nervous system and calm ourselves, we should take slow and conscious breaths focusing on prolonged exhalation.
We breathe irregularly mainly because poor posture, poor nutrition and reduced movement. If we change the way we breathe, we are going to improve the flow of blood in the tissues and decrease the levels of stress i.e. improve our quality of life. We just need to focus on inhaling, exhaling and retaining breath in order to affect our body, mind, emotions and energy flow.
We should take deep breaths and exhale slowly because the highest concentration of toxins that we need to exhale is in those last 10% of the air that we usually do not exhale, because we breathe shallowly.
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Additionally, deep breathing can relieve pain since it can encourage the nervous system to relax. This will encourage muscles to relax as well and the pain will disappear. We should constantly breathe deeply, not only during meditation or exercising.
How to breathe properly in 3 steps:
- Have a correct posture because the muscles involved in breathing cannot work properly if you are constantly hunched.
- Balance inhalation and exhalation. They should have similar intensity and length. And always breathe from the diaphragm, not the lungs.
- Focus on complete exhalation. We already mentioned that it is important to exhale completely in order to eliminate the toxins in the body. This is why the lungs are also called the third kidney.
This is something that ancient yogis in India have done for centuries. They breathe consciously and thus directly affect their state of mind. They breath deep to calm their mind. On the other hand, short and shallow breaths make the mind unstable and restless.
Proper breathing can also help digestion and problems with constipation
Breathing through the diaphragm will allow the air that enters the stomach to massage the internal organs and stimulate their proper function.
Short and shallow breathing accelerates aging
The proper breathing also helps the skin to stay healthy and beautiful. As we already mentioned, short and shallow breaths encourage production of the stress hormone which damages the skin cells and causes premature aging.