Breathing is living – this simple process accompanies everything we do, whether it is sleep, work, exercise, or meditation. In Yoga breathing is called pranayama, which can be roughly translated as the “extension of life” as prana means “life force”. You’ve probably noticed that when you have trouble breathing there are all kinds of issues that come with it – anxiety, stress, trouble sleeping, and indigestion just to name a few. When you take control of your breathing all these things might still happen, but you will learn to counter-act them and improve your overall mental health. Here are 8 reasons why we all need to learn to breathe correctly.
We live in a noisy, stressful environment, which makes our brain keep us in alert state all the time. This leads to loads of stress that is almost impossible to shake off. Controlled deep breathing is one of the easiest and most potent tools to help our brain and body relax. It’s a built-in mechanism you should use every day!
Breathing and moving is the only way to boost your lymphatic system, which is responsible for cleansing all the waste and toxins in your body. There’s no built-in pump like the one our heart has, but by simply breathing deeply you will help your system to fully cleanse.
Controlled deep breathing directly influences the vagus nerve in our brain, which is responsible for calmness, focus, and low heart rate. The more you stimulate it, the more acetylcholine gets into your nervous system, and the more benefits you reap from breathing properly. Research shows it works better than any anti-depressant!
It may not seem obvious, but deep breathing actually promotes weight loss. You get more oxygen to your lungs, heart, and all the cells of your body. They, in turn, burn more fat – just like during an exercise!
Deep breathing is most appreciated for its ability to override our fight-or-flight response (the sympathetic nervous system), and get our brain to relax by switching on the parasympathetic nervous system. As a result your mind gets calm, you sleep better, and your heart rate slows down.
Endorphins are essential to our feeling happy, satisfied with life, and relaxed. Endorphins also ease pain and provide a feeling of overall well-being. Just by breathing slowly and deeply you can become a happier person!
Deep controlled breathing naturally leads to a meditative state of mind, which has endless benefits for all areas of your life. Breathing exercises give you a sense of calm, quiet the mind, improve focus, concentration, and body awareness.
According to research, breathing exercises paired with meditation lead to an increase in brain size. Certain areas of your brain will experience growth as you meditate for a long period of time. Mostly those are the areas related to sensory input and attention. The music areas of the brain also become thicker. Even as you grow older your brain keeps on developing!