The lights are dim, the smell of incense is wafting in the air. You’re sitting in a crossed legged position, eyes shut.
The teacher in front of the room begins to speak in a slow calming matter. “Inhale, let your breath expand your belly. Pause….wonderful now exhale slowly to the count of five.”
You feel the stress of the day melt off your shoulders, your jaw is less tight and you enter your yoga practice with a clear mind.
Say hello to controlled breathing. This breathing technique has been shown to reduce stress, increase alertness and boost your immune system. It also can reduce symptoms associated with anxiety, insomnia, PTSD and ADD.
The research is still out about why it may promote healing for a wide array of disorders but there is one theory that controlled breathing can actually change the response of the autonomic nervous system. Mindfully changing the way you breath appears to send a signal to the brain to adjust the parasympathetic branch of the nervous system, which is responsible for slowing heart rate and promoting feelings of calm. Pretty amazing, right?
Controlled breathing is a wonderful introduction to meditation and doesn’t take longer than five minutes. Read on below for a breathing exercise that will help you put this technique in practice.
In coherent breathing, you have one goal, to breath at a rate of five breaths per minute, which translates to roughly inhaling and exhaling to the count of six. If you have never practiced breathing exercises before, then I would recommend working up to this practice slowly. Start with inhaling, then exhaling to the count of three and then working your way up to six.
I can’t wait to hear about how you implement controlled breathing into your daily wellness routine. Make sure to tag @mindfully_you_ on IG so I can send you a digital high five.
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