Breathing is one of the most basic of all physiological functions in the body. From the moment of conception, unconsciously, our body begins to breathe and continues to do so until the very last breath of life. Yet, we pay little attention unless guided to do so by a movement therapist or trainer. Rarely are we given a formal education on optimal breathing and the benefits as children or as adults.
Breathing is the primary focus in stress reduction, pain relief, martial arts, yoga, meditation and many more mind-body disciplines. The research reveals that breath is a powerful tool and assists in keeping the mind focused, centered and calm and that creating awareness of the breath and maintaining a simple daily practice of meditation or mindful breathing will enhance overall health and well-being.
Some of these benefits are immediate, such as feelings of relaxation and peace, others, such as the ability to respond to stress more effectively, can be seen over time with longer practice of breathing exercises.
- Mindful breathing helps regulate the eleven operating systems of the body i.e. the nervous, cardiovascular, endocrine, digestive, lymphatic, integumentary, muscular, reproductive, skeletal, respiratory, and urinary
- Research has shown that optimal breathing exercises can have immediate effects by altering the pH level of the blood, or changing blood pressure
- Mindful breathing creates awareness and enhances mindfulness by making conscious an everyday action that is primarily done unconsciously
Want to breathe deeply and enhance your mind/body connection? Try out the Mini Stability Ball™ Focus on Breathing and Muscular Release DVD. This unique workout focuses on breathing techniques and mobility of the spine, hips and shoulders with exercises that improve posture, relieve negative tension and strengthen the core.
Check out this month's Ask the Expert where Master Instructor Trainer, Laureen Dubeau, highlights the ZEN•GA breathing principle and suggests a breathing-focused exercise to try with your clients.