breathing for relaxation

Breathing – it’s something we often take for granted.  We can control it some of the time, but most of the work is done automatically by our beloved brain.  Have you ever gotten caught up in something exciting or stressful and suddenly notice how you are breathing?

Are you sometimes alarmed at how quick and tense your breathing becomes?  It can definitely show how relaxed or stressed you are at any given moment.  When you learn how to make your breathing work for you, you get calm and stay cool.

Many worries or emotional upsets don’t come on that strongly at once.  Sometimes it just creeps up on you, and suddenly you find yourself tense and tight.  This is a great time to try some breathing.

Yoga Breathing Helps Reduce Stress

I have dabbled in yoga for the last several years.  I found that it really helped me during my recovery from postpartum depression (PPD) and premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD).  While I don’t profess to be any sort of expert, I have learned some valuable lessons from doing yoga.  One of them is about the importance and power of good focused breathing.

A common cue during a yoga session is to “breath into the stretch.”  You may also be told to “breath into any tension you feel.”  As I have learned to do this, I close my eyes and visualize the spot where I’m feeling the most tension.  Maybe it’s the back of my leg, my neck, or my abdominals.  When I slowly inhale and exhale, I imagine a channel from my lungs straight to that spot of tension.

How Much Tension Are You Holding In Your Body All Day?

You probably don’t even realize how much muscle tension you are holding in your body throughout the day.  If you practice a little bit of this destressing type of breathing each day, you’ll probably find your own hot spots pretty quickly.  This kind of awareness can keep the muscle tension from building up all day long.  And even if something very suddenly shocks your senses and makes you upset, like a fender bender, this kind of breathing can make your recovery quicker and less stressful.

Try it and tell me what you think.  Or, if you have used this type of breathing before, tell me your experiences with it.

Creative Commons License photo credit: an opportunity for identity