Seven years ago I started incorporating healthy practices into my life such as yoga, thai chi, organic food and massage therapy. Massage therapy school taught me the structure and function of the human body and renewed my appreciation for my own body. For example, think of the human heart. It operates 24 hours a day, 365 days a year without stopping to rest. The human body is an amazing machine full of intelligence and wonder.
One of the most important aspects of a good massage is helping clients breathe correctly during the massage. Oxygen is essential to the metabolic function of all cells. The lungs provide oxygen to the whole body. The lungs also help the body ward off environmental toxins. The lymphatic system is activated by deep breathing and toxins are removed by the lymphatic system. Human can survive days without food and water but only minutes without oxygen.
Many people I see for the first time in my practice are completely stressed out and breathe very shallow. Breathing shallow causes lack of oxygen and puts unnecessary stress on the body. Breathing correctly and taking time out of each day to focus and practice on daily breath work is an important gift to give your body for both emotional and physical health. I have found that I can literally breathe myself out of stress by simply staying in the present moment and putting my attention to breath.
There are many different types of yoga which all involve the art of conscious breathing. You can research different yoga practices to find one that works for you and see what programs are offered in the community you live in. I have seen my clients’ quality of life improve by simply incorporating 20-30 minutes of breathwork exercises in daily routines. Conscious breathing helps people to stay in the moment and creates body and mind balance.
Invigoration Breath Exercise
Inhale and exhale rapidly through your nose. This is also known as the breath of fire. Breathe in and out equal in time. You will quickly move your diaphragm in and out. Make sure you are sitting up straight and your spine is extended. If done correctly, you should feel invigorated after this exercise.
Tensions Release Breath Exercise
Sit in a relaxed position. Inhale slowly through your nose counting to seven. Let the air out of your mouth, counting to 10. This is a simple exercise that calms the nervous system. As you are breathing, pay attention to any stress or tension in the body. Focus on that area and release tension and stress as you breathe out.
Sleep Breath Exercise
Close your eyes and imagine a giant ball of light….pick your color. Breathe in through your nose, and watch the light get big. Breathe out through your mouth, and watch the light get smaller. Keep breathing slowly as the light fades away.
Take deep breathe through your nose and hold for 15 seconds. Slowly breathe the air out of your lungs. As you hold your breath, pay attention to any tension or stress the body is holding and focus on letting go.