Improve your breathing – Improve your mental health

As we progress out of lockdown, we are continuously learning how to adapt to our new realities. As we journey, maybe we let go of previous beliefs and accept that change is the only constant in our lives.

and.. remembering, things are ok in the present moment.  Mindful breathing is giving us that reassurance again and again.

Read on for guidance on how you can pin your awareness to your breathing and in doing so improve the quality of each and every breath cycle.  A valuable tool to improving your mental health and wellbeing.

and science also indicating that just 20 minutes of mindful breathing early in your day can significantly improve the quality of your subconscious breathing for several subsequent hours.  Improved breath quality encouraging the body to feed back to your mind that all is well and thereby downgrading the stress loop.

4 Steps to Improving Your Breathing

A 2 way street; if you have tension in your body, likely you will also have tension in your mind and likely also that this tension is affecting your breath which in turn influences your physiological state.

Tension in the body might be an indication that you are not breathing optimally. It takes practice to breathe with awareness and to breathe more fully, recruiting all of the muscles for respiration, so be patient.

Step 1 to improving your breath and reversing any habitual patterns is to simply observe the breath.

Step 2 is discovering if you can, the different movements in your body as you breathe. Ideally, when we are in a state of rest, we are wanting to breathe belly, side ribs, chest and then collar bones. We call this the 4 part yogic breath.

Step 3 discover the other less gross movements in my body as you breathe. Bringing awareness to the slight nod forwards and back of the pelvis. This movement is really subtle so please don’t worry if you don’t quite feel it.

Bring awareness also to any movement you might feel in your shoulders. Perhaps shoulders rotating outwards on the inhale and internally rotating on the exhale. Again don’t worry if you don’t have it.

Step 4 awareness also on the 3 diaphragms used in breathing might be useful. The one at the base of the throat that lifts on the inhale, the 2nd in the chest and the 3rd in the pelvic floor. These both descend on inhalation. These 3 diaphragms also expand outwards - like a fan.

Breathing well and engaging all 3 has a profound effect on many of our body's systems. In addition to downgrading your stress levels and improving your mental wellbeing, other benefits include improving respiration; digestion, elimination, fertility, menstruation.  Breathing well also helping to lower inflammation thereby helping alleviate symptoms of autoimmune disorders including rheumatoid arthritis and functional illnesses including fibromyalgia.

A diagram of the 3 diaphragms is shown below and scroll down to access a short audio mindful breathing practice.

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Source : The breathing book - Donna Farhi

Breathing practice

A short mindful breathing practice focusing on the 3 diaphragms in the body. To be done seated.

and beyond there are numerous breathing practices focusing on the anatomy of the breath. Maybe consider joining me on a Wednesday morning at 8:00 AM for 20 minutes of FREE mindful breathing or simply sit with yourself and breathe consciously.  Feeling and sensing into what you are experiencing.

Pinning your mind to the breath.

Peace in the current moment.

'Receive the breath, receive the weight of the body, receive the moment' - Judith Hason Lasater

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