Deep, Slow Breathing can Slow Aging, Prevent Disease, Increase Happiness
Did you know that bellows breath (a type of rapid belly breathing) can help to lower your resting heart rate and thus increase your life span with just a few minutes of practice a day for as little as a month? That’s the same type of benefit you would receive from doing regular exercise every day. This is just one type of breathing that has scientifically been proven to support the human nervous system and also to enhance anti-aging, mood-boosting, and disease-fighting properties. Truthfully, breathing is extremely important for achieving optimal health.
Breathing for Better Health, a Longer Life
Dr. Matthew Lee tell us that alternate nostril breathing can benefit non-practitioners, meaning people who don’t normally practice Nadi Shodhan, the yogic name for the same breath. There is also the ujjayi breath and humming bee breath, but just slowing your number of breaths per minute can create what Dr. Herbert Benson of Harvard medical School coined as the relaxation response.
When we breathe slower, it affects our moods positively, increases the immune functioning of the body, and turns off the sometimes toxic chemical stew that can be created by a stress-response left over from a fight-or-flight mechanism (induced by the autonomic nervous system) that we developed early on. Some smart doctors even tell their patients to practice deep breathing five to ten times a day.
The trick is to remember to practice one of these breathing exercises when you’re breathing in a panicked way – or not at all. Most of us take breathing for granted, as expected since it is one of the many things our body does on autopilot, like keeping our heart beating or regulating our body temperatures. However, when we are stressed we usually breathe shallowly or not at all., which can cause some harm.
Little kids actually become ‘blue in the face’ when they are angry because they are holding their breaths. Interesting, huh? We do something similar when we feel angered, frustrated or fatigued. The next time you feel your temperature rising, try taking a deep breath or practice alternate nostril or bellow’s breathing instead. It’s proven that you’ll live longer and feel better if you do. Breathing deeply is a way to achieve a mind-body connection and to love yourself more.
“Love is a portion of the soul itself, and it is of the same nature as the celestial breathing of the atmosphere of paradise.” – Vistor Hugo
Christina Sarich is a humanitarian and freelance writer helping you to Wake up Your Sleepy Little Head, and See the Big Picture. Her blog is Yoga for the New World. Her latest book is Pharma Sutra: Healing the Body And Mind Through the Art of Yoga.