Last week in my yoga classes I decided to talk about the breath and why it is so important for us to stop and take a moment to focus on our breath… Here are five reasons why….

 

  1. Become present – by focusing in on the breath we become present. Our breath is something that is always with us. We miss so many of the wonderful moments in life by forever living in the past or thinking about the future. Becoming aware of our breath brings us back to the moment we should be living in. I heard in a yoga class the other day that on average we have 16,000 and 96,000 thoughts a day….That’s a heck of a lot of thoughts to try and switch off from!

 

  1. Monitor your feelings – by tuning into the breath we can become more aware of how we feel. If we are feeling anxious or stressed then perhaps our breath has become short and restricted. By becoming aware of your breath patterns you can start to find ways of using the breath to look after yourself and create mental and emotional stability.

 

  1. Meditate on the breath – if you haven’t tried meditation before, focusing on your own breath is a really good place to start. Using the breath to meditate can help us see more clearly. It can help us create more space to become aware that whatever we are feeling right now will pass, that emotions are constantly changing and that we are not stuck in this moment.

 

  1. Relinquish control – we are not in control of our breath, breathing just happens. Our breath is automatic, just as blood pumps through your veins, just as we aren’t in control of the weather or every single emotion that comes to pass. By focusing on the breath we start to slow down and realise that we can’t always fix or change things. That sometimes it is better to simply let go.

 

  1. Create a bit of calm and peace – by concentrating on the breath, and in particular your exhalation, your parasympathetic nervous system starts to kick in. This is our “rest and digest” mode which helps us feel more centered, more calm, more relaxed and content.

 

So next time you have a spare moment, just breathe!

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Image curtesy of Flickr and Michal Huniewicz