Question....What’s the first thing we do when we enter the world and the last thing we do before we leave?
Yes...breathe (okay there was a pretty big clue in the title).
On average we breathe approximately 26,000 times per day without even having to think about it, pretty amazing wouldn’t you agree, whilst we just crack on with the commute (or used to should I say), drinking coffee, making phone calls, completing the chores, eating lunch, playing with the kids, etc...you get the picture.
You’d think with all that practice we’d be experts but it turns out we have so much more to learn. You see, when we become conscious of our breathing we have the power to control our overall health and performance, impacting everything from our state of mind all the way to our body’s chemistry.
And perhaps best of all it’s free and something you can do at anytime in any place.
Change Your State... It’s been widely known for a while that breathing exercises can have a calming effect on our emotions yet so many of us choose to overlook it when it comes to changing our state.
Whether you’re feeling stressed, anxious, angry, upset these are all emotions that are focused on the outside world...taking a moment to focus on your breath draws your thoughts internally, switching off those external cues and calming the mind.
Fix Your Posture... Your breathing also has a tremendous impact upon your posture and vice versa. When we’re fatigued, stressed, worried and/or upset for example we can often find ourselves in a rounded defensive posture which anatomically only supports short, shallow, hyperventilated breathes.
In contrast if/when we adopt deep, controlled nasal breathes we must automatically take on a taller more open posture more akin to a confident, happy and energised state.
Alter Your Chemistry... Would you believe that breathing is responsible for the removal of up to 70% of our body’s toxins, with the other 30% through our bladder and bowels. If we don’t breathe properly/fully our body is forced to work overtime to release these toxins putting our health at risk.
Our breathing also supports our immunity through greater absorption and transportation of nutrients and vitamins in fully oxygenated blood.
Breath put very simply is the foundation of life and as an autonomic bodily function we can be forgiven for taking it for granted but in doing so we are missing out on the absolute health benefits for both our mind and body.