How Do You Breathe?

I took a deep breath and listened to old bray of my heart; I am, I am, I am.
— Sylvia Plath

We all breathe, approximately 12-20 times per minute if you’re counting, which adds up to 17,000-30,000 breaths per day! But how many of us breathe with awareness of what’s happening in the body, mind and spirit for any of those 30,000 breaths?

On a physical level, when you breathe your diaphragm and lungs bring oxygen into the blood stream and push carbon dioxide out. Most of us tend to take shallow, short breaths which triggers our “fight or flight” response in the body, and heightens the levels of stress and anxiety we feel in our lives.

Deep, deliberate, conscious breathing does the opposite -- it engages the parasympathetic nervous system, which relaxes the body and calms the mind. It also increases oxygen saturation in our cells which helps the body not only relax but also rejuvenate itself. 

Increase Your Energy Through the Breath

Deep, deliberate and conscious breathing not only relaxes the body and helps it regenerate, it can also give us that much needed boost of energy when we are feeling a little low. Conditions such chronic stress or restless sleep can deplete the body of its internal energy reserves, which can leave us feeling a little low.

Focusing on the breath either first thing in the morning or right before we fall asleep at night can help reduce stress levels in our lives and help us get a better, more rested sleep, which in turn keeps our body's energy levels up and more stable throughout the day.

Breathe in Greater Awareness and Focus

The breath is the focal point in many Buddhist meditation techniques. Anapana sati, the meditation on breathing in and out, was stressed by Buddha as the “gateway to enlightenment”. In fact, it was through meditation on the breath that Buddha achieved his own enlightenment.

Whether our goal is simply relaxation or something a little loftier, focusing on the breath can help us learn how to slow down and clear out the mental noise that so often pervades ours thoughts. When the breath slows down, the mind also follows. As the body relaxes and the mind quiets you free yourself of the distractions, stressors, to-do lists and self-doubt -- which in turns enables you tap into creativity and inspiration, focus on what is really important and see a clear path forward for what it is you truly want to achieve in life.

Certain energy based work, such as activations, can also help initiate and even speed up this process. By working with a trained practitioner to activate certain points in the energy body, you can start to reveal your true self that lies beneath the cluttered layers of the mind, and start to realize your true life purpose.

The Life Activation and Full Spirit Activation are two of the most effective energetic modalities available to us today to help us connect to our true self

Try This at Home

Pranayama are yogic breathing exercises that mean the extension of the breath or "life force". In the yoga tradition, breath work is a means of attaining higher states of awareness.

One pranayama technique you can start using right away is the square breath, or four count breath. Sitting comfortably in an upright position, begin to breathe in to a count of four and exhale to a count of four. Repeat this process as the breath starts to lengthen both on the inhale and exhale. Repeat for as long as you wish.

Adding breath retention takes four count breathing to another level and starts to introduce more meditative, reflective qualities over time the more it is practised.

Breath retention simply involves holding the breath for a count of four in between the inhale and exhale.

Interested in Learning more? Check out our schedule for our next Breathing Workshop.