Whilst our individual states of health and wellbeing may differ, we all share one thing in common: we breathe.
You may not think about your breathing very much. In fact, you don’t need to think about your breath at all as your nervous system controls your breathing. However, awareness of – and changing – your breath can bring you many advantages and health benefits.
Breathing is the only function of the nervous system that you can voluntarily change. In changing your breathing, you can change your emotional state. This is a very powerful concept (to increase your emotional resilience) and an empowering skill (to change how you feel for better health and wellbeing).
So why not learn how to breathe better? Breathing is central to yoga practice.
When your emotions are running high and you’re stressed, anxious, angry, for example, you can’t think clearly and it can be difficult to calm down and relax. Yoga practices work to stimulate the parasympathetic nervous system, reducing sympathetic tone (stress response), to slow heart rate, lower blood pressure, allowing the body’s systems to calm relax and better function.
Good and bad experiences, affecting the body’s reactions, can be learned and unlearned by the nervous system, so the more the nervous system (and the body) can relax, the calmer and healthier a person can be.
© Sarah Swan (30 December 2021)