In this blogpost we present part two our article on deep breathing and look at how our breathing shifts attitude, perceptions and beliefs. As we spoke about earlier, ancient yogis believe the breath is the key to accessing a peaceful, calm mind. Developing a stronger sympathetic nervous system, we allow our breath to originate from its true home, that of the belly. This makes a deep, rich, flowing and nourishing breath possible.
According to yoga, when we don’t breathe deeply we ignite the parasympathetic system which become easily over dominated and results in the stress response. This breath is short, choppy and shallow and comes from our upper chest, nicknamed the ‘anticipatory muscles’ because it is both stress inducing and the cause of stress itself. Dr. Andrew Weil from the Arizona Institute for Alternate Medicine finds that the main reason for the stress epidemic in the United States is an overactive sympathetic nervous system.
A study done in 1946, by the New England Journal of Medicine, found that 96% of backache complaints were not structural in nature but due to psychological factors. Breathing short and shallow puts us into a constant state of fight versus flight. We go about living our life as if there is a boat filled up with water and taking a pale to empty the water only to find that there are holes in the boat.
DAILY IMPACT OF IMPROPER BREATHING
Our body interprets our ‘overemphasis in the sympathetic system’ as one foot on the gas and one foot on the brakes. When we do not breathe correctly, we are not present. We think too much. We cling to the past or some anticipated future event.
It is only in this moment that we can appreciate the deep, rich, extraordinary possibilities life beholds. No wonder modern life is still trying to catch up with nature. Computers and globalization still leave us all feeling as if we are wanting something more…
Parasympathetic Nervous System
Using our primary muscles of breathing, we inhale, expanding the abdomen, allowing the diaphragm to release, the lung tissue to expand and the deep, rich oxygenated breaths to flow. The diaphragm muscle has been associated with courage. In yoga, we understand that as a living healthy organism, we must undergo change in order to remain healthy. When we stay connected to our breath, we let life unfold without attaching to results. We circulate the body with life force energy and wire our brain to stay calm, confident and centered right in the center of change.
From the first breath, we feel lighter, more at ease, more connected to our natural vitality and joy. As we exhale, we allow the belly to soften; the diaphragm will lift up back under the heart and push air out of the lungs. Placing our focus on the breath, we practice meditation, we let things fall apart and we stay centered. The way you know your yoga is progressing is your ability to take on more stress with less effort.
True mastery is really living your everyday life sweetly.
Our body is directly connected to our mind and since breathing is on one level conscious and on another unconscious, breathing is something we can practice. Just by placing our awareness on the breath, we will begin to feel the body open, our lungs expand and our mood and energy soar.
We understand that taking part in yoga can often feel new and different for everyone! If you wish to speak with someone personally, why not set up a phone consultation. Simply click on our button (“Let’s Chat!”) located on the home page of www.claytonyoga.com.
We would love to share our passion for yoga and help you reach many students too!