Yoga: Breathe An Extra Hour Into Your Day
Twenty-four hours a day every day of your life, you breathe, but how much time are you conscious of it? How would you like it if you turned your twenty-four hour day into twenty-five? By regulating and increasing the awareness of your breath, you may feel like you have achieved just this. Moving from your general non-attendance of the breath to conscious observance for at least 6 times a day for ten minutes at a time will force you to stop and be. You are your breath, never forget. The aftermath of this simple exercise will be a general slowing down of your actions and your thoughts. This will actually increase productivity not halt it, because you will be much more in control and hugely focussed. Take in a deep breath right now, fill your lungs smoothly to the absolute brim and smile at the top of your breath, feel how your shoulders rise with the expansion of the chest, now hold it just for a moment…and breathe smoothly out of your nose and let your shoulders fall back gently….How do you feel?
Your breath can define you. A short and shallow breath denotes your anxiety whereas a long, slow and deep breath fills you with confidence and composure. Wouldn’t you like to feel confident and composed every day of your life? Watching the breath regularly can make you a very attractive person. Watching the breath 'maintains in you an even-tempered state; one of the aims of yoga’(p89 Anatomy of ~Hatha Yoga by H. David Coulter). Deep, conscious breathing brings your world into slow-motion, giving you time to feel and giving you time to see. Imagine how much more beauty you can capture in your heart. What a happy bank of memories could be at your disposal. Mobile phones, emails, cars all denote immediacy and allow you to cram more and more into your life and the more you cram, the less aware you become of the living, breathing, perfect organism that is you. When you fully express your breath you fully express yourself.
Abnormal breathing patterns associated with stress can stimulate panic attacks and further anxiety and incite over-activity of the ‘fight or flight’ mechanism (parasympathetic system). By contrast, deep, slow breathing reduces sharp, physical reactions by assuaging the heartbeat and reducing blood pressure. Its influence on your general emotional outlook is positive and stabilising. 'The connection between heart rate and breathing is called respiratory sinus arrhythmia’……..If you take longer to exhale than to inhale, especially when you are relaxing, the slowing down effect of the exhalation will predominate' (p91 Anatomy of ~Hatha Yoga by H. David Coulter). There is already a wonderful movement called Slow Food. Good, clean and fair food. Start your own personal movement called Slow Breath. Good, clean and fair air. This may mean you have to turn your mobile phone off at times in your waking day, it may mean you have to take yourself somewhere peaceful for ten minutes a day, it may mean you moving away from your computer screen for a few minutes at a time. Yes it may mean you have to Respirate to Liberate; it goes like this:
Inhale for 3 and exhale for 6 for ten minutes at the following times:
7am, 10am, 1pm, 4pm, 7pm and 10pm.
It is important to abstain from stimulants either side of these times. It is important that you take yourself somewhere quiet and if you can in nature (breathing in the aroma of a nearby vase of freesias will suffice). Add a ‘Respirate to Liberate’ when you hit a hard place at work or home. Six applications a day is the minimum requirement, do more if you can find the time. Apply before adrenaline fuelled situations (board meetings, boisterous children etc...).
The slower and deeper I breathe, the slower and deeper I live.
My inhalation is as an elixir; my exhalation is a profound detox tool.