The Power of Breathing – A Key for Anti-Aging
Have you ever noticed, that in periods of stress or situations of fear you hold your breath or fall into a very shallow breathing pattern, just reaching your chest? How you breathe has an impact on your body, releasing certain stress chemicals and triggering your fight or flight mode and its associated feelings of stress.
The wrong breathing can contribute to aging and even disease
One effect of stress is the shortening of Telomeres, which causes aging. Another negative effect of the stress chemicals, they slow down the production of antioxidants that protect you from disease. They also show up in your face as they change proteins in your skin, contributing to wrinkle formation. A shallow breath also means you keep negative emotions trapped in our body, not allowing them to flow through you and get released.
Breathing, a great tool to build resilience and promote longevity
The right breathing helps you to get out of fight or flight mode, lower your stress level and release stagnant and trapped energies. It is a great tool to build up stress resilience and promotes longevity. Your breath is your life force. The word breath comes from the Latin word “respirare”, which contains Spirit and means to re-connect with Spirit. And this is what breathing is all about – connecting with your life force. The great news – breathing can be practiced anywhere and anytime.
How do you know if you breathe the right way?
Well, the natural breath engages the diaphragm. This is a muscle located between the abdomen and the chest. If the diaphragm is involved, your stomach rises and falls with ease. A simple test is to lay down on your back and either lay your hand on your stomach or lay a book on top of your stomach and see it rise and fall.
How to Practice right breathing
Make it a habit to consciously use your breath. This is a matter of practice. Practice several times a day, so if you run into fight or flight mode or stress, you already know how to catch yourself.
Sit up straight or rest on your back. Laying down makes it easier for you to tune into the part of the body where the breathing is happening.
- Lay down and place one hand on your chest and the other hand on your belly
- Take a few normal breaths and observe which part of the body you’re breathing in to. Where is most of the movement happening – in the chest or int he belly?
- Try to deepen your breath by consciously breathing into the belly and feeling the hand on the belly rise and fall.
- Do this for a couple of minutes and feel how your body sensation and feelings change.
Advanced exercise – 4-4-4-4 breathing:
- Lay down or sit up straight and inhale through your nose to a count of four.
- Hold your breath to a count of four.
- Release your breath through your nose to a count of four.
- Hold empty to a count of four.
- Do this cycle 4-6 times.
Keep your focus on your breath throughout the entire exercise. While inhaling set your intention to drawing in nourishing and soothing energy. Then keep your focus on the gap in between inhalation and exhalation and the stillness and void that is generated. Then fully focus on the exhalation with the intent to completely release all negativity and heavy energies. And then again focus on the break in between. You can even deepen the experience by putting the left hand on your heart center and the right hand just below your belly button.