To start with the basics, breathing is vital for any living organism. In order for cells to function properly they need oxygen. Since the act of breathing is automatic to humans, we tend not to pay attention to it. Each of us have the ability to make the breath more effective by simply being aware. With a little bit of practice we can begin to breathe with intention. Enhancing the breath involves slowing down the breathing pattern by taking long smooth inhales and equally as long exhales.
When humans get upset they subconsciously begin to slow down their breathing or even hold their breath. Conversely, in order to clear their minds and relax they take a deep breath. Through these natural tendencies we can recognize how powerful the act of breathing is.
Breathing with intention has several benefits. Studies have shown that meditation and breathing can help reduce sleep issues. Other benefits include reducing stress and anxiety. Deep rhythmic breathing increases oxygen and blood-flow to the brain. As most of you know, everyone’s brain is stronger in certain areas than others. Breathing exercises can actually help create balance in all parts of the brain.
Many leaders in the business world and in other industries use breathing as a technique to manage their stress and help them make clear decisions.
Yoga (specifically Vinyasa) and meditation classes place emphasis on the foundations of breathing with intention. My favorite breathing exercises come from the yoga breathing technique is called Ujjayi (pronounced Ooo-Jah- yee). If you would prefer to try some simple breathing exercises at home, you can look them up online. Before you know it you will find yourself using this new tool to reduce stress, to clear you mind and to initiate relaxation.
Use your breath to assist in achieving a balanced state of mind. Step out of autopilot mode, recognize when you can utilize the tool of breathing. With your breath you can give yourself breaks at any given point in a busy day.
Connecting to breath is how we exist in the present moment. Don’t “Just Breathe,” breathe with intention.