Fall means so many things to me. In the wellness world I'm constantly exposed to an endless stream of information, programs, events, people, opportunities and so forth. It's easy for me to feel overwhelmed with all that's available to me all the time. Even more reason now, in this "age of information over-load" to remind myself and all of you how important it is (especially when you feel that overwhelm) to come back to what seems like "the basics" AND actually is where the magic happens.
In this case I'm talking about your BREATH. Sounds simple right? We all breathe everyday. So what? I've had clients who are dealing with significant body pain, carrying excess weight or just dealing with anxiety ALL have very positive results from learning how to breathe. REST must follow action in order for you to optimal health. When we truly rest, the "rest and repair" part of our nervous system called the parasympathetic nervous system and the BREATH is the only part of the autonomic nervous system that can be controlled consciously. Nothing communicates to every cell of your body that you are safe better than your breath. When you breathe in a short, sharp and/or shallow way then you are telling your body you are in danger. That actually sets off a whole stream of other reactions in your body! Pain, tension, a spike in various stress hormones which can actually switch on or off fat burning and cause insomnia or panic attacks. The breath can do ALL of that. No joke. Long slow diaphragmatic breathing actually communicates the opposite message to your body-- that you all is safe and well!
How is your breathing?
I use breath work a lot with my clients, so I asked a good friend of mine, Rebecca Spath, to write a small summary for you all. Breathing is a nice way to center yourself and create space for healing and growth, take a look at what she has to share with you.
No breath, no life. Know breath, know life.
Your body is designed to release 70% of its toxins through breathing, when oxygenating properly. It is the MOST important "nutrient" we have. It is our SOURCE for the ultimate in nourishment. Conscious breathing becomes more invaluable as we are bombarded with enormous stressors throughout each day, causing us to clench our bodies, breath shallowly or hold our breath.
I institute "breath breaks" with my clients to train the body to go FOR the breath when feeling malnourished, which manifests in grogginess, lethargy, foggy-brain syndrome, irritability, anxious. So, instead of going for that chocolate bar or greasy snack, or a drink, stop and take 3-5 deep breaths (10 if needed), feeling the body let go of the tension, the tightness, the confusion, and fall into ease, shoulders dropping, jaw relaxing, belly softening, body breathing.
The benefits of incorporating conscious breathing into our lives are abundant, including but not limited to: reduction in cortisol levels, weight loss, increased, clarity, focus, productivity, strengthening of our immune systems, better posture and fluidity in movement, reduction of emotional eating, improved cellular regeneration, increased stamina, ease on the nervous system, strengthening the cardiovascular system, increased digestion and assimilation of food.
One simple way to incorporate "breath breaks" into your day is to download an App that chimes every 20, 30, 45 or 60 minutes. I use Zazen Lite.
2014 Rebecca Spath, Breathing Room Living www.rebeccaspath.com