One of the ways we can change our emotional state is through the use of physiology. Try thinking negative thoughts with a big grin on your face while you are sitting up straight, shoulders firmly set, chest out. Not easy is it? Imagine if you could manage your emotional state through the physiology of breathing - something we do automatically without giving it a second thought.
“Feelings come and go like clouds in a windy sky.
Conscious breathing is my anchor.”
(Thích Nhat Hanh)
The impact of breathing on physiology has a “trickle-up effect” on the mind. Research shows that yogic breathing positively impacts mood. A few studies show that yogic breathing techniques reduce anxiety and depression. Why? Researcher Chris Streeter from Boston University believes it’s because yogic practices stimulate the vagus nerve (which is part of the PNS), and this effect ripples out to the body and brain, increasing neurotransmitters in the brain that reduce anxiety (“Breath, Body and Mind: the Physiology of Pranayama: Angela Wilson).
So many of us take our breathing for granted. If we could all learn and appreciate the great power we have within ourselves simply by focusing on deep breaths, we will start to realise the benefit of such practice.
I have learnt that deep breaths help me to ground and centre myself during meditation.Once I am in this state I am then open to the guidance, the messages, the visions and the healing that become available to me. When I face stressful situations and I remember to step back, sit down and allow my deep breaths to take over slowly, deeply and quietly, I then own my power. When I want to balance my male and female energies, I use my deep breaths to help me connect.
“As above, so below”.
I often use a technique called the ‘Loving Breath” to help my clients find a state of heightened awareness. This is a very simple but effective method of using the breath to bring the body and mind into a peaceful state of mindfulness. The technique entails sitting straight up in a chair and taking deep breaths..Start by exhaling deeply through your nose, while contracting your stomach. Then, slowly inhale through your stomach, then your chest. Lift your shoulders up to your ears and count for 5. Exhale, slowly dropping your shoulders, relaxing your chest and contracting your stomach again. Continue for 10 cycles until you are fully relaxed and breathing deeply. Once your mind is in a state of calm and peace, you will be more in tune with what your inner Self is trying to tell you.
I encourage you to discover the power of breathing. Feel your breath. Know your breath. Embrace your breath. Own your breath. And then, so, shall you find your peace.