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How breathing can change your life

Jan 7, 2024 | Mindfulness

Taking breathing for granted is a common practice, yet it’s a unique marvel with profound implications for your well-being. Unlike many bodily functions that are either conscious or unconscious, breathing can be both. It serves as an automatic activity performed by the body, and simultaneously, you can consciously control the length and depth of your breath. Positioned at the threshold of consciousness, breathing possesses the power to transform your life.

Our bodies engage in about 20,000 breaths daily, inhaling oxygen to fuel cells and exhaling carbon dioxide to eliminate metabolic waste. Breathing stands as a vital function, and although survival is possible for days without water and weeks without food, the absence of breath for even a couple of moments can lead to death.

How the nervous system regulates breathing

Although we experience breathing as a straightforward function of the body, breathing is a complex activity that needs to be coordinated with other activities like chewing, swallowing, talking, and singing. Breathing regulation is a dynamic process that adjusts on a moment-to-moment basis. 

Breathing is regulated by the autonomic nervous system, which is part of the nervous system that works without you needing to spend time and energy managing it. 

The autonomic nervous system has two branches:

The sympathetic nervous system is your fight, flight, and freeze response. It is activated when your body feels threatened and prepares to run or fight for its life. When your body is in a sympathetic response, you might feel tense, in pain, or frightened, and your breathing will become fast and shallow.

The parasympathetic nervous system is your rest and digest response. In this mode, you feel safe and relaxed, allowing you to take long, deep breaths.

What struck me as remarkable is that while your mindset can influence your breathing, it works the other way, too. By consciously controlling your breathing, you can calm your body and move from a stress response to a relaxed one.

 

Using breath to alter consciousness

We enter the world inhaling, and we leave it with an exhale. Many spiritual teachings recognize the role breathing plays in consciousness.

In China, the Tao acknowledges qi as the force of vitality manifested in breathing. Additionally, in Buddhism, this force is referred to as prana, considered one of the core principles of yoga. Within yoga, the practice of controlling breath, Pranayama, meaning life force (prana) stretching (yama), alludes to the longevity associated with this practice. All contemporary forms of mindfulness meditation emphasize exercises centered around breathing.

The Jewish community coined the term “Roahch,” signifying both air (or wind) and spirit. The Greeks named the forces of life pneuma, meaning containing or operating by air; in Latin, the word spirit is at the root of both “spirit” and “respiration.”

In 1920, German psychiatrist Johannes Heinrich Schultz developed a relaxation technique with breath control at its core. This method is still practiced to this day in and out of the consulting room.

Next time you feel stress or anxiety, try to take a couple of deep, slow breaths. Extending your exhalation is especially beneficial for shifting the nervous system from stress to relaxation.

 

Beyond stress, the health benefits of deep breathing

Controlling your breath has far more benefits than just reducing stress and anxiety. Research shows that practicing yogic breath can:

 

We underestimate the power of taking a deep breath, but one of the things life taught me was that if I take the time to pause and breathe deeply, I make better decisions, accomplish more, and feel safe and better regulated. Try it, too!

simple breathing meditation instruction

My friend Terri is passionate about sharing mindfulness and positive mindset strategies to ease the discomfort of being overwhelmed. She believes gratitude, kindness, and compassion can change the world one person at a time. Terri was kind and generous and gave us a recorded guided breathing meditation.

Did you know that stress and sleep debt increase inflammation?

To learn strategies for reducing stress and paying out your sleep debt check out Stress Gut & The Immune System.

 

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Disclaimer: This document is for educational and informational purposes only and solely as a self-help tool for your own use. I am not providing medical, psychological, or nutrition therapy advice. You should not use this information to diagnose or treat any health problems or illnesses without consulting your own medical practitioner. Always seek the advice of your own medical practitioner and/or mental health provider about your specific health situation. You can view my full disclaimer here.

How breathing can change your life

Jan 7, 2024 | Mindfulness

JOIN OUR NEWSLETTER

Feeling inspired? Want more?

Continue your learning by joining the Bee Fields Farm newsletter and gain access to exclusive content that is sure to nourish your mind, body, and soul.

Example topics include:

  • seasonal recipes
  • how-to’s
  • tips & tricks
  • farm & community updates
  • upcoming programs
  • and so much more…

ENROLL TODAY

Together we’ll transform your health and reach new levels of vibrancy at any age.

Love, Lior

Pencil drawing of bee to separate text

Disclaimer: This document is for educational and informational purposes only and solely as a self-help tool for your own use. I am not providing medical, psychological, or nutrition therapy advice. You should not use this information to diagnose or treat any health problems or illnesses without consulting your own medical practitioner. Always seek the advice of your own medical practitioner and/or mental health provider about your specific health situation. You can view my full disclaimer here.

How breathing can change your life

Jan 7, 2024 | Mindfulness

JOIN OUR NEWSLETTER

Feeling inspired? Want more?

Continue your learning by joining the Bee Fields Farm newsletter and gain access to exclusive content that is sure to nourish your mind, body, and soul.

Example topics include:

  • seasonal recipes
  • how-to’s
  • tips & tricks
  • farm & community updates
  • upcoming programs
  • and so much more…

ENROLL TODAY

Together we’ll transform your health and reach new levels of vibrancy at any age.

Love, Lior

Pencil drawing of bee to separate text

Disclaimer: This document is for educational and informational purposes only and solely as a self-help tool for your own use. I am not providing medical, psychological, or nutrition therapy advice. You should not use this information to diagnose or treat any health problems or illnesses without consulting your own medical practitioner. Always seek the advice of your own medical practitioner and/or mental health provider about your specific health situation. You can view my full disclaimer here.

How breathing can change your life

Jan 7, 2024 | Mindfulness

JOIN OUR NEWSLETTER

Feeling inspired? Want more?

Continue your learning by joining the Bee Fields Farm newsletter and gain access to exclusive content that is sure to nourish your mind, body, and soul.

Example topics include:

  • seasonal recipes
  • how-to’s
  • tips & tricks
  • farm & community updates
  • upcoming programs
  • and so much more…

ENROLL TODAY

Together we’ll transform your health and reach new levels of vibrancy at any age.

Love, Lior

Pencil drawing of bee to separate text

Disclaimer: This document is for educational and informational purposes only and solely as a self-help tool for your own use. I am not providing medical, psychological, or nutrition therapy advice. You should not use this information to diagnose or treat any health problems or illnesses without consulting your own medical practitioner. Always seek the advice of your own medical practitioner and/or mental health provider about your specific health situation. You can view my full disclaimer here.

How breathing can change your life

Jan 7, 2024 | Mindfulness

JOIN OUR NEWSLETTER

Feeling inspired? Want more?

Continue your learning by joining the Bee Fields Farm newsletter and gain access to exclusive content that is sure to nourish your mind, body, and soul.

Example topics include:

  • seasonal recipes
  • how-to’s
  • tips & tricks
  • farm & community updates
  • upcoming programs
  • and so much more…

ENROLL TODAY

Together we’ll transform your health and reach new levels of vibrancy at any age.

Love, Lior

Pencil drawing of bee to separate text

Disclaimer: This document is for educational and informational purposes only and solely as a self-help tool for your own use. I am not providing medical, psychological, or nutrition therapy advice. You should not use this information to diagnose or treat any health problems or illnesses without consulting your own medical practitioner. Always seek the advice of your own medical practitioner and/or mental health provider about your specific health situation. You can view my full disclaimer here.

How breathing can change your life

Jan 7, 2024 | Mindfulness

JOIN OUR NEWSLETTER

Feeling inspired? Want more?

Continue your learning by joining the Bee Fields Farm newsletter and gain access to exclusive content that is sure to nourish your mind, body, and soul.

Example topics include:

  • seasonal recipes
  • how-to’s
  • tips & tricks
  • farm & community updates
  • upcoming programs
  • and so much more…

ENROLL TODAY

Together we’ll transform your health and reach new levels of vibrancy at any age.

Love, Lior

Pencil drawing of bee to separate text

Disclaimer: This document is for educational and informational purposes only and solely as a self-help tool for your own use. I am not providing medical, psychological, or nutrition therapy advice. You should not use this information to diagnose or treat any health problems or illnesses without consulting your own medical practitioner. Always seek the advice of your own medical practitioner and/or mental health provider about your specific health situation. You can view my full disclaimer here.

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