Thursday, 10 July 2014

An exercise in letting go

Create a comfortable position sitting, lying. Be aware of your body. Relax your body, eyes closed starting from your toes, working upto your head. Deeply inhale through your nose. As you inhale, breathe into your abdomen, then through your entire chest and upward to your shoulders. You can place your hands over your abdomen to use. Your hands should rise as you inhale. Breathe very deeply to fill your abdomen and chest, and hold your breath for a few seconds. Exhale through your mouth .Imagine all the tension from your body being pulled and exhaled with each breath. Continue breathing deeply for several minutes. Scan your body for any area that may remain tense. Focus on this area and imagine breathing directly in and out of this area. Now, visualize your thoughts harmlessly floating away from you.  Try imagining your thoughts floating past you on a slowly moving river.  If any particular thoughts keep coming up, just allow them to pass by again – notice them, observe them, if need be experience them completely and let them go.

Monday, 30 June 2014

Breathing and Healing

Breathing is something we all do, our entire lives, and we rarely pay much attention to it. Focusing on our breathing helps connect the mind and body. When we are stressed, our breathing rate and pattern changes as part of the ‘fight-or-flight response’. The types of conditions that controlled breathing might help include: Anxiety 
Chronic fatigue syndrome 
Chronic pain 
High blood pressure 
Panic attacks 

These symptoms are in many ways the result of the body staying in a fight-or-flight state due to an imbalance of the parasympathetic and sympathetic nervous systems. Breathing correctly means that our bodies are being supplied with the right amount of oxygen, replenishing our brain and other vital organs with essential nutrients. 

As babies, we all take deep, relaxing breaths from our abdomen. As we get older, stress affects the way we breathe. When we are stressed, our bodies are in the 'fight or flight' mode. We then take short sharp breaths to help prepare for the 'fight' we will have to face. But prolonged periods of stress we constantly breathe this way, using only the top third of our lungs. When you breathe deeply, it sends a message to your brain to calm down and relax which then sends this message to your body. 

And when you breathe deeply, all your symptoms due to stress, such as increased heart rate, fast breathing, and high blood pressure, all decrease. Spend some time each day consciously breathing slow and rhythmically, and bringing air deep into your lungs. It is a simple trick to get energized and focused. Deep breathing releases endorphins throughout the body which are feel-good, natural painkillers. Focusing on your breathing during physical activities, can help you become more aware of your body, improving self-awareness. By becoming more mindful of your breath, you can vastly improve your outlook and make choices that help you stay healthy and maintain an ideal weight too.