Breathe Already! - I decided on breathwork and the importance of breathing as our healing topic today because this is something that I can relate to in a major way.
I confess to being an unconscious breath-holder and am writing this specifically for all breath-holders. Are you also member of the Breathholders Anonymous Club? Share your breathing tips.
I need to become more vigilant in conscious breathing. Whenever I am learning something new or working on a project that requires concentration, my breathing locks up. This is the worst thing that can happen when I'm trying to employ my brain, because holding my breath deprives the brain of oxygen. It can feel like a learning disability - really! So hard to learn stuff when the brain isn't allowed to function optimally.
Reminding myself to breathe consciously is a recurring lesson in my life. It's a bad habit of mine to withhold my breath when concentrating. I'm really good at conscious breathing when I'm doing my meditation... but that is only 20 minutes once or twice a day. I need to do better.
I have even caught myself holding my breath when watching television. It depends on the show. While watching cartoons I will laugh and breathe freely. While watching more intense dramas or suspense shows I will catch myself holding my breath (sometimes clinching my fists too!). I wouldn't be surprised if I almost turn blue before realizing I'm blocking my air passages. Whenever I catch myself holding or taking shallow breaths I will consciously take a deliberate deep cleansing breath.
In an attempt to nurture better breathing habits while writing this blog I am choosing to take a deep breath each time I type a period at the end of a sentence. Think I'll call this practice Punctuation Breathing! In fact, I challenge all shallow breathers to begin taking a cleansing breath at every punctuation mark whenever you are writing or reading. (breathe now) Feel better? (take another breath) - Just beware of those run-on sentences!
- Power and Mystery of Conscious Breathing
- How to Breathe Through the Soles of Your Feet
- Breath Awareness Technique
Comments from Readers
Good article - I suffer from chronic pain and anxiety. I also have a panic attack problem called Hyperventilation Syndrome. I’m a shallow breather, and just today my psychologist told me to “breathe from my stomach to lift up my diaphragm. He says one gets more O2 that way. I am really going to have to do this. I tend to hold my breath when I am in pain, too. ~Erin
Thank you Erin. Sorry for your panic attacks, sounds like good advice from your psychologist. I can relate to holding your breath when in pain. I hold my breath when I’m cold… it is a reflex. So silly that I I do this… holding my breath isn’t going to make me feel warmer. ~Phylameana
I have been doing breathwork (REBIRTHING) for 36 years now and in my experience holding your breath is a means of suppression Conscious prolonged breathing(at least for an hour) never ceases to amaze me with it’s miracles It purifies the body on a cellular level as well as clearing out all unconscious trauma that has been trapped in our cells as far back as time in our mothers womb and our births that can leave painful scares on the outcome of our lives that we are living NOW ~ Pauline McNab
Also try alternative nostril breathing (Pranayama) to steady nerves and aid concentration. (I usually do a few rounds before meditation to help me to ‘focus’). Datails are in most Yoga books (or ask your teacher if in a group/class) Basically you place the first two fingers of your left hand on your Forehead (Third Eye spot, , so do it gently!) then place your thumb on your left nostril and GENTLY breathe in through your right nostril for a (mental) count of five. HOLD for a count of three then place your fourth finger on your right nostril and GENTLY breathe out through your left nostril. Hold your breath for a count of three then repeat the process – this time breathing in through your left nostril and out through your right. Got it? (It does take a bit of practice, but it soon comes ‘naturally’). Obviously, as you develop you can prolong the time you hold your breath in and the time you wait after you’ve breathed out.
It is excellent for oxygenating the lungs, and can improve the pulmonary circulation of the blood tremendously. I’d suggest you begin with just three ’rounds’ and then work up gradually. (and of course stop if you begin to feel dizzy or ‘whoosy’ – which is caused by your lungs not being used to so much lovely oxygen!) Just cut down your count of holding in the breath next time and you’ll be o.k.! ~Carl Markham
Throughout the day i stop for a minute or more to take 3 purposeful breath.one for body,mind and spirit…I breath in LOVE and exhale Gratitude..Even these brief pauses with help balance you on all levels.. ~Rev Frederick
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