Breathing itself is a superpower, because that’s what inspires life. Literally. Without breathing, we cease to exist. Powerful!
Yet many people pay little or no attention to what’s happening with their breath. Our lungs function without any conscious attention or effort on our part, so most of us take our breathing for granted.
What if I told you that becoming aware of our current breath pattern, then consciously choosing to shift our breath allows us to harness that superpower?
Try it right now. Stop reading and take a long slow deep breath.
What shifted for you? Likely what shifted is that more of your energy is here, now, which means more of it is available to you. Focusing on the breath brings us into the present moment.
There is a Hindu belief that says the number of breaths allotted to us in a lifetime is predetermined, and that we can delay the time of death by regulated breathing. Read more on that here and learn some breathing techniques to lengthen your life!
Shifting breath is a helpful first step in processing our emotions.
It’s pretty well documented that we can change our breath pattern to disrupt negative emotions and change our mood. Deep, slow breathing into the belly is strong medicine for anxiety, fear and anger. Expectant mothers take classes in how to shift their breath so they are better prepared to face the pain and endurance required during childbirth. Athletes focus on breathing practices to help reduce fatigue and promote stamina. I used to suffer from severe travel anxiety and changing my breath was the best tool I found to curtail it in the moment.
I encourage clients to take a deep grounding breath as soon as they realize they are experiencing any emotion they do not wish to feel. It’s the pause that gives us just enough space to choose how we wish to process the emotion. Focusing on our breath can be a powerful first step in shifting old behavior patterns, or trying to break a habit.
This article in Psych Central talks about a study that indicates that emotions may be caused, at least in part, by the way we breathe!
A shift in breathing is a shift in energy, and often allows a calmer perspective when we find ourselves in chaos. We can use breathing to decrease stress, calm nerves, sharpen focus, minimize negative thoughts, and increase energy!
Like I said, Superpower!
How much attention do you pay to your breath?
What is your normal breathing like?
How do you feel when you slow and deepen your breath?
Try inhaling deeply, then exhaling forcefully when you are experiencing an emotion you do not enjoy. What shifts for you?
Explore different breathing techniques on YouTube. Which ones appeal to you?