To breathe is to live.
When we are born, we arrive in a first breath, on an inhalation. At our death, we will leave in a last breath, an expiration.
Throughout our lives, we breathe naturally, without any effort. Breathing is the only system that functions automatically while also being under our control.
It is an extraordinary phenomenon, an act of life par excellence: “I know I am alive because I breathe”.
And to breathe consciously is to re-synchronize with life.
What Is Breathing?
The main function of breathing is to bring in outside air through the nose and/or mouth by sucking it in to take in oxygen through the lungs. The body redistributes this energy to our cells, and then rids the body of carbon dioxide and waste (70% of the toxins we expel go through breathing).
Breathing first contributes to the body’s oxygenation. But on closer inspection, we realize that it is much more than a set of physical and biochemical mechanisms that produce energy for our cells to produce energy. Breathing also serves to capture the life force, the energy of life that allows us to evolve on the physical, psychic, and spiritual levels.
On a daily basis, we breathe only at 40 to 50% of our capacity. That's how much potential we have to explore!
And conversely, the breath reflects and expresses the change of our states. Whether it is our psychological state, our emotional state, or our physiological state, they all influence the way we breathe.
The Magical Powers of Conscious Breathing
Have you noticed that when you are angry, upset or scared, you breathe differently than when you are calm, relaxed, and happy?
By becoming aware of your breathing patterns, by identifying them, you get the key to moving from one state to another. You can take control of how you feel, of your general state.
If you change your breathing, you change your state.
Most of the time your body breathes on its own, automatically. But you can also decide to breathe more or less. This will act on the amplitude and rhythm of your breathing.
And when you consciously change the way you breathe, especially by breathing in longer and exhaling in a relaxed way, that's when the magic happens. This is the power of the famous "sigh of relief".
We then observe a positive impact on stress levels, sleep quality, morale, our level of performance and concentration, the body's self-healing power... Tensions disappear, everything becomes calmer, the mind is clearer, more joyful, everything is more fluid.
There are many things we struggle with, many things we try to solve, or change in our lives... But you will see, these things simply dissipate on their own, for the most part, when you develop a conscious breathing practice.
How to Do It? Some Conscious Breathing Exercises:
You can practice it by being aware of your breath as often as possible, at any time in your day. You can also lengthen your breaths by inflating your abdomen, then your rib cage, and then releasing all your tensions with your exhalations.
We can release some of our potential by regularly turning our attention inward and focusing on the sensations of the breath, the movements that occur with our breath. This process calms the mind, and when the mind calms down, it opens up to more awareness, to the present moment: we begin to notice things that we hadn't noticed before.
There are all kinds of conscious breathing methods that are very affordable and easy to incorporate into your routine.
My Four Favorite Conscious Breathing Methods:
1- Cardiac Coherence
This relaxation technique through breathing acts directly on the heart. It is thus possible to manage one's emotional state and to improve one's physical and psychological well-being.
There are different practices of coherence. I invite you to download the application Respi Relax which is perfect, in my opinion. You can adjust the settings according to your needs.
Using an application allows you to avoid having to count and thus, to solicit the mind.
You can also practice cardiac coherence without support if you wish.
Start by breathing slowly and deeply through your belly.
Then breathe in for 5 seconds through your nose, then out through your mouth for 5 seconds.
Breathe out as deeply as you can, going to the end of your breath.
Repeat this loop at least 3 times.
As you do the exercise, focus your attention on the heart area, imagining that you are breathing through it to create a union between your heart and your brain.
For even deeper relaxation, and to calm your agitated nervous system, you can breathe in for 4 seconds and out for 6.
2 - SOMA Conscious Breathing
Transforming your life through breathing is the promise of this method.
It is based on precise breathing techniques (exercises composed of several series with specific rhythms, followed by progressive phases of oxygen retention: apnea with empty and full lungs), coupled with visualization and thought structuring.
All SOMA meditation sessions are guided and have been created to an original soundtrack, specially designed to quickly reach altered states of consciousness.
By starting a daily practice with SOMA, you will discover the power and benefits of this ancient technique, now validated by modern science. It will allow you to activate parts of your brain that were previously dormant, in order to access your full potential. It is a way to reach your goals faster and live a more fulfilling and stress-free life.
Personally tested and approved, this method is very powerful.
3 - Abdominal Breathing
The abdominal breathing technique helps to fight against overweight and anxiety.
Lie down, place your hands flat on your belly button.
Breathe gently through your nose while inflating your abdomen.
Think of something that makes you happy, that makes you feel good.
As you exhale, and the diaphragm relaxes, and the abdomen empties, mentally get rid of your anxiety, of what is troubling you at that moment.
Imagine that all your worries dissipate when you exhale.
The greater your range of inhalation and exhalation, the more relaxed you will become. Abdominal breathing is ideal for calming down, calming down in a stressful situation, or even to refocus.
4 - Pranayama
The breathing technique of Pranayama releases vital energy and improves your concentration.
Sit cross-legged or in a lotus position, with your chest straight and vertical.
Your head, neck, and back are aligned. Your shoulders and abdominal muscles are relaxed, your hands are resting on your knees, your eyes are closed and your body remains still during the practice.
With your right hand, begin by inhaling through your left nostril for 7 seconds, plugging the right one with your thumb.
Then plug your left nostril with the ring finger, your nose is completely plugged, hold your breath for 7 seconds.
Exhale through your right nostril, releasing your thumb for 7 seconds.
And now conversely, breathe in through the unblocked right nostril, hold your breath, breathe out through the left by blocking the right.
Repeat this loop at least ten times.
Breathing well can do wonders for our health and mental balance.