Breathe Journal Entry #2— Benefits of Breathing: A few weeks ago, I began a 12-week breath training course and today is the end of week five. Thus far, I have found the training to be a wonderful program that emphasizes the many benefits of breathing.
The breath training program began with relaxation breathing and then progressed through some visualizations techniques. Yoga breathing for health was the focus of week three, while week four and five emphasized advanced breathing techniques as well as exercises to increase lung capacity and chest flexibility.
The nose is for breathing. The mouth is for eating.
Proper breathing is an essential component of a good life. Interestingly, while our breath is automatic, we are also able to control it. On the other hand, we are also able to create bad breathing habits (or to ignore our breathing altogether).
Ancient yogis believed that at birth we were given a set number of breaths to take during our lifetime. They believed, also, that a person was given the choice and the option on how to use their breath allotment throughout their life. This is why some people believe that full, deep, slow, and controlled breathing leads to a longer life. What an awesome benefit that is!
A few more awesome benefits of good breathing habits include:
- Calming your nervous system
- Reducing stress
- Boosting your immune system
- Lessening anxiety
- Decreased symptoms of PTSD
- Increased energy levels
Science backs up the claims that breathing has some major health benefits. For example, in 2010 a research scientist conducted a study of the benefits of breathing for veterans suffering from post traumatic stress disorder. While some of the soldiers were skeptical at first of the power of breathing, throughout the course of the study they reported many positive benefits of their breathing practice. You can read more about this breathing study and its effect on veterans.
Time to Practice a Breath Technique
Well… I just finished writing this journal entry, clicked save and ended up losing nearly three-fourths of the article. I guess it’s time for me to do some deep breathing exercises now as I’m quite sad that I lost my breath journal entry.
I’ll write more soon.
More on the Benefits of Breathing
One of the top benefits of breathing awareness is that it is so practical and may be easily practiced in everyday life. A perfect example is the journal entry I lost earlier today. When this happened, it really threw me off of my game.
You see, right up to the point where I lost the entry, my day had been flowing beautifully and harmoniously. I was in the zone! And, let me tell you that losing my writing threw me into a whole other space that was not enjoyable.
In order to deal with my negative reaction to this occurrence, I started using a breathing technique called Ujjayi (ooh-JAH-yee). I chose this technique because I find it to be very effective at calming the mind and the emotions which are both fantastic benefits of breathing consciously.
Ujjayi breathing is an ancient yogic breathing technique that has a long list of wonderful benefits. According to chopra.com, “Ujjayi has a balancing influence on the entire cardiorespiratory system, releases feelings of irritation and frustration, and helps calm the mind and body. With Ujjayi, there are so many benefits, providing good value for a simple practice.” The article goes on to list some benefits you may experience as a result of practicing the Ujjayi breath:
- Increases the amount of oxygen in the blood
- Relieves tension
- Encourages free flow of prana (life force)
- Regulates blood pressure
- Builds energy
- Detoxifies mind and body
- Increases feelings of presence, self-awareness, and meditative qualities (Source: Ujjayi Breath)
Ujjayi breath is quite simple to do and is sometimes called the Ocean breath or the Darth Vader breath due to the sound one makes when engaging in this style of breathing. The Ujjayi breath is so simple and discrete that I like to use it at least once a day and up to three times a day if possible. This is also my go-to breathing technique when I hit a rough spot– big or small — in life as I did early today.
A quick over view of how Ujjayi breathing works is that you breathe in through your nose while holding a slight tension in the back of your throat. Be sure to listen to the sound your breath makes by holding that tension in your throat. Does it sound like the ocean or like Darth Vader?
Once you have finished your in-breath, pause for about three seconds and begin exhaling, ideally through your nose, while once again holding a slight tension in the back of your throat. Pause for three seconds and repeat the in-breath and out-breaths with the three-second pause in between for a least three rounds, or as long as you would like to practice this breathing technique.
Closing Thoughts on Benefits of Breathing
The hardest part of gaining the many benefits of breathing consciously is to actually take the time to practice a breathing technique of some sort or to simply stop and focus on breathing deeply, slowly and with control.
Our minds and emotions can be powerful and can work against us at times. These challenging times, in particular, become our best opportunities to chose to stop, pause and breathe consciously for a few minutes. When you do so, I have no doubt that you will truly experience the greatest benefits of breathing with awareness, intention, and technique. I know I do!
Until next time, (Ujjayi) breathe on… 😉
The owner, creator, and curator of JournalBuddies.com and all-around journaling lover!