Breath Awareness and Its Benefits
We don’t usually think about our breathing while we do it. And usually, we end up breathing from our chest, which somehow makes us feel tight and anxious. Breath awareness is simply breathing with intention, and the intention is to breathe deeply – that is, breathing from our belly or diaphragm. This technique delivers more oxygen to our bodies and eventually improves our sense of well-being. This is because, with more oxygen in our bodies, we expel more carbon dioxide and more toxins as well.
On top of detoxing our bodies and strengthening our immunity, breath awareness also improves digestion, controls blood pressure, relieves muscle tension, improves sleep quality, and prevents anxiety and depression. This breathing’s ability to improve mental disposition has something to do with its stress relief effects as it activates your parasympathetic nervous system. This simply means the techniques helps us fight our fight-or-flight response, thereby making us feel calmer. This is why the technique always works for those who use it to induce a good night’s rest. The more relaxed we feel, the closer we are to sleep.
Breath awareness is a simple process. Just sit upright or lay down if you’re trying to get some sleep. Once you are in a comfortable position, part your lips and exhale completely from your mouth. Now close your mouth and inhale softly through your nostrils for about four seconds and hold for another seven seconds. Then breathe out from your mouth for eight seconds and repeat three more times.
Breath awareness is also particularly beneficial when done during a massage. By controlling your breathing, you relax your mind, your body automatically follows suit, and you feel more relaxed. Because of this, you will also experience less pain perception and your stiff muscles will get more blood supply, allowing you to enjoy your massage more.
While breathing is usually involuntary, we only breathe right when our body is working as it should. When we breathe, our chest and back muscles relax and contract. If we’re going through a stressful time or we are filled with anxiety, our breathing can tighten, which makes us breathe shallow and limits the amount of oxygen that we bring inside our bodies. As a result, we feel exhausted or nauseous, or we can even develop headaches. Through body massage, stiffness in our chest and back can be relieved and our respiratory functions improve. When done regularly, this helps strengthen or main breathing muscles, increasing our defense against stress.
Indeed, by practicing breath awareness, you can manage your stress and anxiety much better. And there are other benefits too as mentioned above. It may take a little practice, but it is very easy to learn with time. Once we master this skill, it will be easier for us to heal from any ailment that we may have. After all, much of our bodies’ functions are dependent on oxygen. If we can train ourselves to breathe in more of it through breath awareness, we can improve our health and enjoy a higher quality of life.