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It is easy to take breathing for granted, because we don't have to think about it. And yet the breath is a powerful tool, which with a little guidance and awareness we can harness to improve every aspect of our daily lives!
As yogis have known for centuries, and as medical science is beginning to discover, the breath has amazing recuperative powers. At BetterLife our Mindful Breathing classes help you understand your own habitual breathing patterns. Our teachers will introduce simple and easy to use techniques which calm and revitalize your whole system. They will also teach you ways to incorporate mindful breathing into your everyday lives; to allow energy to flow freely in the body, to improve mood, sleep, energy levels and digestion.
So how does the breath actually affect us? When we are stressed we tend to breathe too quickly. As a result, oxygen builds up in the bloodstream and we experience a decrease in carbon dioxide. This upsets the acid-alkaline balance (pH level), which can manifest symptoms of irritability, lightheadedness, confusion, anxiety and nausea.
In contrast, slowing the breath increases the levels of carbon dioxide in the body, which creates a more alkaline state. Now the parasympathetic nervous system can activate, calming and relieving tension. The latest in scientific research discusses how this also impacts the vagus nerve, a complex system which sends sensory information from internal organs to the brain. As we activate the vagus we calm the heart, ease inflammation within the body and encourage better digestion.
Most breathing activities will be in a seated posture with an upright spine. Using props, a chair or lying down are also options. Learning to work with the breath can be a powerful ally in coping with the everyday stress of work, family and personal lives. It can help us understand where emotional blocks reside in our bodies and to release them. As we begin to release these blockages our breath can flow more freely and our minds can be calmer and clearer.
Learn more about breathing! Read our other articles on the subject: