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Breathing is pervasive and inevitable. It accompanies us throughout our lives, in our travels, our jobs or our meetings. While we live, this natural function is controlled by the nervous system and can be profoundly disturbed by thoughts and emotions.Old masters and sages developed a technique to help us deal with some of the negative impacts of our mood on the body.
How is it used?
We can control–through the act of breathing–different stages of anxiety, panic attacks, or altered emotional states. It can also help us avoid unexpected events, such as insomnia, depression, stress, chronic respiratory diseases and many other silent conditions that can lead to disease.
How does it work?
At some point, many of us could lose control of our emotions. When you find yourself in the midst of an emotional storm, you’ll notice that your breathing become chaotic, focusing on the chest, creating noxious circles and agitation in the entire nervous system.
Regardless of the circumstances that lead you to lose your temper, it is critical to keep in mind that breathing can be your best ally to change and modify your emotions.
When are bodies are tense, stressed and agitated, breathing will be short, shallow and from the chest. On the contrary, when the body is calm, relaxed and in control, breathing will be slow, deep and arise from the abdomen.
How is it done?
Ancient belief systems include breathing techniques to gain control of the mind and emotions, as well as other benefits to our health, such as maximizing oxygenation of the physical body and the development of vital energies.
To train and become familiar with this technique–which can be done very easily and bring you great benefits–try to do it in a quiet place with low light, every day.
Lie down and breathe from the abdomen with hands resting on the belly. During the first few breaths, which will always be through the nose, you let the body stay as relaxed as possible and bear the attention to the sensation created with the palms resting on your abdomen.
Then you will begin to “breathe into the hands” consciously trying to identify the movement of the diaphragm into the abdomen. As you progress through the exercise, you lend more attention to exhalation than to inhalation, releasing the air more and more slowly and allowing the inhalation to be just a reaction to exhalation.
In addition to releasing the air slowly, you can deepen the end of exhalation and gently squeeze the muscles in the area putting pressure on the belly, which will push the lungs and help expel more air.
This exercise can be done for 10 to 15 minutes, extending it according to your need or taste.
A variant of this technique is to count as you breathe. You can start, for example, in sets of three inhalations moving up to six, or extending the number of sets as you notice that your body allows it.
This simple exercise can be done before bedtime or anytime you have calm. ■