Breath work can optimise your health
As we go about our fast-paced, hectic lifestyles, we take in air in much the same way as we do everything else on the run, with no regard whatsoever to what we’re doing or how we’re doing it.
Oxygen feeds every part of the body; and believe it or not most of us in the Western world have no idea how to breathe.
“As a result your lungs and body are being deprived of life-sustaining oxygen,” explains Dr. Ela Manga, an integrated practitioner who focuses on the mind body connection and a holistic approach to wellbeing, “And you end up in a state of chronic low grade sympathetic overdrive and on the road to burnout, full of niggling aches and pains, fatigue, IBS, recurrent colds and flu, insomnia and anxiety. Modern city life allows very little space for your body’s ‘rest and restore’ system to function in the way that it’s been designed to in order to counteract this,” she adds,
“Which is why so many people today are feeling highly stressed. And the sad thing is that when you are under pressure or feeling anxious or overwhelmed, you tend to hold your breath despite the fact that slow, deep breathing is the very best way to relieve stress.” When air reaches the lower parts of your lungs where oxygen is optimal and blood pressure levels start declining, tension seeps out of muscles, your anxiety wanes, the monkey-chatter in your head starts to calm and you become less reactive. The result? A less-stressed, more energised, far healthier and happier you.”
Achieving this is quite simple says Ela, by cultivating awareness and practice of the most fundamental and simple physiological act- an action that supports all life – to relearn how to breathe. “The first thing you need to do is to bring more awareness to the way that you are breathing. Check what you’re doing throughout your day. Is your breath shallow or fast? Where does it go? Where does it feel ‘stuck’? What moves when you breathe and what doesn’t? Then start remedying it consciously: take a deep, full breath from your belly right up to your collar bones and then sigh the breath out- a complete luxurious sigh of relief. This sends the message to your body and your brain that you are out of danger, that all is well. When you practice this conscious breathing regularly, you’ll slowly begin to restore natural healthy breathing patterns and optimum physical and emotional health.”
If, however, you battle to find your way when it comes to proper breathing, contact a trained breath worker or breath coach who will help you restore healthy breathing patterns. You can get more details on Dr .Manga at the Woodlands Centre for Conscious Living: http://www.woodlandsconsciousliving.co.za/