How to live healthier through Breathwork

Humans are able to survive three weeks without food, three days without water – but only three minutes without breathing. Breathing is the essence of life, it is what makes us living beings and distinguishes us from lifeless objects around us. 

But filling our lungs with vital oxygen is not only necessary for survival, it can also have tremendous influences on the quality of our life. Every yogi knows that through the practice of pranayama (yogic breathing) we can increase our life quality, meditate better and restore the flow of prana, our vital life energy, in the body. Actually, the whole asana practice of yoga would lose its main purpose to ground the practitioner in the here and know and create union when not linked to our breath. 

But breathing is not just breathing. There are many ways to breathe, and not all are beneficial for our health. But if we learn to breathe right, we can transform our whole life and life healthier as well as increase longevity. 

Breathing properly is more important than the food we consume

This makes sense if we consider that we die within a few minutes of not breathing, but it raises the question why we are not learning how to breath right? We are so obsessed with choosing the healthy, gut-friendly foods that stimulate our digestion, but are completely ignoring the fact that if we would just breathe right, we would have a way quicker and more effective way of lowering blood pressure, stress levels and cardiovascular diseases. 

Many of us are not really breathing, meaning we don’t fill our lungs with enough oxygen to support optimal brain and organ function. When we are in stressful or dangerous situations, our breath tends to become short and shallow. Unfortunately, this is the case for many people in their daily life and they are only panting through their day. 

To breath right, we must breathe deeply. A breathing technique that helps us to get all of the benefits of our breath is diaphragmatic breathing, sometimes also called belly breathing or abdominal breathing. This type of breathing can be used at any point within your day and should hopefully be used as often as possible. The basic principle is to direct the incoming breath from the nostrils to the abdomen and breathe deeply into the belly, expanding the stomach. The chest remains relatively still. Consequently, the exhale moves from the belly up and through the chest out of the mouth or the nose. 

Following diaphragmatic breathing several times a day and trying to be aware of the quality of the breath as often as possible throughout your day is crucial for a happy and healthy life.

Increase longevity

In his book Autobiography of a Yogi, Paramahansa Yogananda observes how the number of breaths per minute is linked to the expected life span. He found out that species that breathe fewer times a minute like tortoises tend to live longer than species who take a greater number of breaths per minute, for example dogs. It seems as if the range of breaths per minute is proportionally similar to expected longevity. 

If we breathe right, through deep belly breathing and pausing at the inhale and the exhale, we tend to take fewer breaths per minute and can increase the years we have been given on this planet. 

Happy breathing

Breathing consciously, slowly and deeply also calms our nervous system and is great against stress. Through breathing slowly and deeply we are signaling our body that it is safe to come into a restful state and out of the stressful fight-flight mode. Breathing guides us from the sympathetic nervous system (our stress response) back to the parasympathetic nervous system (our restful state). Only in this state healing and restoration can take place. In this restful state achieved through our breath, the happiness hormone serotonin is also released, making us feel good and increasing our life quality.

Because breathing has the ability to bring us out of the sympathetic nervous system in stressful situations, we are also able to perform better under pressure. Through right breathing, more oxygen can enter our system and get to our brain, so we can make decisions calmer and with a better focus. 

Decreased physical pain

Breathing is also natural painkiller. With our consciousness and focus, we have the ability to direct our breath to specific areas where we experience pain and discomfort. Normally, we would shun away from going into the pain, but with a conscious belly breathing technique, we can acknowledge where we are holding pain and are able to let it go with the power of breath, the life force of the body. 

Moreover, endorphins, feel good hormones are also released when we are breathing. Endorphins also lead to an overall decrease in the symptoms of pain.

Control your breath – control your mind

Many of us struggle with the monkey mind – the never-ending stream of irrelevant and often even destructive and self-sabotaging thoughts, in which it is so easily to spiral down if we don’t pay attention. The good news is, there is a way out, and breathing is your answer. 

By changing our breath pattern, we can produce different states of mind. Focusing on our breath, its rhythm and the expansion and contraction of our chest and belly, we bring the attention away from our chattering mind and ground into the state of the body. The mind, just like the breath has to be mastered to serve us in the proper way. By breathing you send signals to your brain to slow down and be present.

Breathing gives access to our intuition

Deep belly breathing with intention calms our body and mind down enough so we gain clear access to our intuition. Our intuition is our inner voice, the voice within us that doesn’t use words but can be felt as a subtle feeling at times, it is the language of our soul. Our intuition should guide us in this life and tell us what is right and wrong for us beyond logic. 

However, with the distractions and challenges of daily life, it is often hard to listen to your intuition. Often stress, fatigue, fear, overwhelm and anxiety can cloud our intuition and insight. Diaphragmatic breathing clears the brain fog and lets our intuition come to the surface crystal clear. From here we have the access to life our happiest life, full of purpose, energy and spiritual guidance.

Rebirthing Breathwork – Come home to yourself

Sounds great? Try a Rebirthing Breathwork session with me. Rebirthing Breathwork has the ability to clear trauma, bring us back into our authentic self, enhance creativity and experience state of profound bliss – all through the power of conscious connected breathing.

Find more info here or book your session with me (in-person in Berlin or online from everywhere)!

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