How Changing Your Breathing Can Change Your Life (INFOGRAPHIC)
The best way to calm down is so innate to our lives, we often take it for granted: Taking a breath.
Focusing on your own breathing can have a significant impact on your well-being and stress levels, and can even create physiological changes like lowering your blood pressure. But for many of us, when it comes to improving our health, changing our breathing somehow doesn’t spring to mind as readily as changing our diet or exercise habits.
“We take our breath for granted the way we take our heart beat for granted,” Carla Ardito, a breathing expert at Manhattan’s Integral Yoga Institute and creator of the Breathing Lessons app, told The Huffington Post. “The difference is we can work on our breathing.”
And there’s plenty of precedent. For thousands of years, the yogic practice of pranayama (Sanskrit for “extension of the life-force”) has been used as a method geared towards reducing stress and healing the body and mind through targeted breathing exercises.
Breathing is something we all do without really even thinking about it. It is part of our survival, and we really only take notice of it when someone reminds us of our breathing or something is obstructing it – like stress or a health issue.
Breathing, when controlled, can have all sorts of health-improving impacts. It is undoubtedly a mental game, and learning to incorporate healthy breathing techniques might not be too easy. No one is a guru in one night. But think of the self control you will gain by learning how to harness your breath and turn that power into smooth, calculated breaths.
When you are breathing right, your heart rate is healthier, there is less stress on your body, and you are able to do more because there is more oxygen in your body fueling you to go further, both mentally and physically. A health newsletter from Harvard finds that the way we breath can also be socially constructed.
The desire for washboard abs and being thin force many to breathe shallowly and in their chest. Simply breathing like that adds to stress and anxiety just because you are not getting sufficient oxygen. Let those bellies hang out and breathe people.
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