It is said that the breath is the King of the Mind. Now what does this mean? It means, that the only way to facilitate LASTING change in our thoughts, actions, habits and thus physical health is to master our breath.

1. Breathing To Break Habits

Any change that does not bring about a change in the way we breathe, will have an element of willpower to it, and thus we will run out of power sooner or later.Willpower is a very finite resource and not a sustainable tool to rely on for soul-deep transformation and changing the way we go about life and stress.

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2. Breathing For Longevity

Breathing is the force of life. When there is no more breath left in the body, our life has come to an end. Thus, instead of being stuck in the rat race and trying to keep up on the treadmill of life, we want to master our life and form our destiny, we might want to consider how we master the simplest of acts in life.  An act so basic that we perform it thousands of times each and every day, as long as we are alive.

That is, the sacred art of breathing. Our breath feeds our organs the oxygen they need to be healthy at a cell-level. Breathing deeply starting from the navel point all the way up, helps release tension and the respiratory muscles of the neck relax. This in turn helps to relax the facial muscles.

When the facial muscles relax, they loosen their grip over the organs of perception – the nose, eyes, tongue and skin. Thereby the brain relaxes. Our state of mind changes. Longevity is improved when our brain regularly enters a state of complete relaxation.

3. Breathing To Supertune Our Emotional Intelligence

Our breath reveals how we are emotionally wired. If you listen to how a person takes in the force of life, this reveals how they master the art of nourishing their soul. Can they take charge and allow for the life force to flow freely, or do they constrain, force, control and cut-off in shallow breathing?

This will translate into a disconnection of body, mind and soul. We will find ourselves struggling with being assertive, stating our truth, standing up for ourselves and what we believe in if we cannot master the basics of breathing. We must learn how to walk before we can run a marathon, unless we want to sprain an ankle and spend time in (emotional) recovery.

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Emotional intelligence is dependent on our ability to connect body, mind and soul. People with high EQ are known to be amongst the top performers, due to their ability to anticipate needs before they arise and see a case from different angles – they have the rare combo of stability with flexibility. IQ is worth very little if we have no EQ – after all, soul-deep emotions is what makes us human.

4. Breathing For Emotional Management

For every emotion there is a corresponding breath rhythm. This is why we often say “take a deep breath” if someone is emotionally out of balance. We might not realize that what we are asking the person to do, is to change the vibration that they are in, in order to change their state of mind and calm their emotions.

When our breath is irregular, the mind wavers. When our breath is harmonious, so is our mind. This is the science behind yoga and meditation – the rhythmic breathing allows our brain to switch from sympathetic to the parasympathetic nervous system, where healing and recovery takes place. This in turn releases serotonin and makes us feel safe, nourished and loved up! In yoga we call the conscious practice of working with our breath“pranayama”.

5. Breathing For Detoxification

Breath practice is used to deliberately detox the energy flows in the body. It is like taking an internal shower! This can be explained biochemically, as we see a change in our stress hormones when we breathe harmoniously: cortisol drops which allows for better insulin control. Both crucial biochemical factors involved in tissue restoration and detoxification.

Our body cannot repair nor detox when we are in a state of stress aka fight-or-flight.There is no simpler act with such profound effects that we can begin to practice than our breathing. When we start the journey of micro stepping into change, we will experience the macro changes in our life that we crave.

Breathing our way through transformation is the first micro step wherever we are on our journey. Just b-r-e-a-t-h-e and let go of everything that is no longer serving you. Only then you can take the next step.

References:

Rev Enferm. 2010 May;33(5):48-54. Efficacy of the controlled breathing therapy on stress: biological correlates. preliminary study. Cea Ugarte JI1 et al.

Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2011;2011:932430. Diaphragmatic breathing reduces exercise-induced oxidative stress. Martarelli D1 et al.

J Altern Complement Med. 2009 Mar;15(3):293-5. Immediate effect of slow pace bhastrika pranayama on blood pressure and heart rate. Pramanik T1 et al.

Indian J Physiol Pharmacol. 1988 Oct-Dec;32(4):257-64. Autonomic responses to breath holding and its variations following pranayama. Bhargava R1 et al.

J Altern Complement Med. 2011 Jul;17(7):623-8. Diaphragmatic breathing reduces postprandial oxidative stress. Martarelli D1 et al.

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