In this blog we are going to be taking a closer look at the benefits of breathwork, which can often be overlooked or underestimated. This is understandable as we’ve been breathing our entire lives and not given it much thought. Breathe in. Breathe out. We do this all day, every day, without a conscious effort.
However, breathing and breath have deep roots in the Christian story. The creation narrative in Genesis demonstrates a beautiful intimacy between God and humanity. As we are formed out of the dust by the Creator’s hands, He then bends down and breathes deeply into us. That first breath that Adam took was directly from the mouth of God.
Then the Lord God formed a man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being. Genesis 2:7
When was the last time you took a deep breath? Did you know that deep breathing is one of our most simple, convenient and natural tools? It can help deal with stress and anxiety, reduce pain and blood pressure, and even aid digestion. Simply put, more oxygen is beneficial to both the body and the mind. It cleanses, opens and soothes various parts of our being. Let’s look in more details at the advantages of deep breathing.
Deep Breathing Reduces Stress And Promotes Calm
When you are stressed or anxious, your brain produces cortisol, also known as the ‘stress hormone’. Deep breathing causes your heart rate to slow, more oxygen to enter your bloodstream and ultimately communicates with your brain to relax. Deep breathing also increases endorphins, the ‘feel good’ hormone.
Deep Breathing Alleviates Pain
As previously stated, deep breathing causes the release of endorphins, which not only help create a feeling of well-being but also combat pain.
Deep Breathing Detoxifies The Body
Breathing produces carbon monoxide, which must be completely expelled. Breathing is responsible for 70% of toxin removal in the body (the other 30% is handled by the bladder and bowels). If you don’t breathe fully, your body has to work extra hard to expel these toxins.
Deep Breathing Improves Immunity
When your blood is fully oxygenated, it more efficiently transports and absorbs nutrients and vitamins. Essentially, the cleaner your blood, the more difficult it is for illnesses to remain in your system.
Deep Breathing Boosts Energy
The more oxygen in our blood, the better our bodies function. It also improves our stamina.
Deep Breathing Reduces Blood Pressure
As your muscles relax, your blood vessels dilate, improving circulation and lowering blood pressure. Deep breathing also slows and regulates the heart rate, which aids in the reduction of blood pressure.
Deep Breathing Aids Digestion
The deeper you breathe, the healthier your blood flow will be. This aids your organs, including your intestines, to function more effectively.
Deep Breathing Assists In Maintaining Proper Posture
When you breathe in, notice how your spine lengthens and straightens simultaneously. This is because to take a deep breath, your lungs take up as much space as possible, your diaphragm pulls down and your torso straightens.
Deep Breathing Techniques
There are numerous methods or exercises but here are a few examples. Another advantage of these techniques is that they are all repetitive in nature, which will help you achieve a meditative state.
(If you have asthma or other breathing problems, consult your doctor before beginning any deep breathing exercises.)
If you’re unfamiliar with the diaphragm, it’s a small muscle located directly beneath your lungs. When you breathe deeply, it will contract and move downward, allowing your lungs to expand and breathe fresh air.
To practice diaphragmatic breathing, do the following:
• begin by placing one hand over your heart and the other over your stomach.
• inhale through your nose and allow the air to fill your belly. Maintain your hands on your heart and belly and watch how the one on your belly moves while the one on your heart should remain stationary.
• as you exhale, draw your navel in towards your spine, as if you were blowing out birthday candles.
• feel as your hand on your belly returns to its original position.
To begin, repeat this three to five times, noting how you feel after each time.
4-7-8 Deep Breathing
Breathe in for four seconds, hold your breath for seven seconds, exhale for eight seconds with this technique:
• begin by placing one hand on your heart and the other on your stomach, as in the diaphragmatic breathing exercise.
• as you feel your diaphragm slide down, take one deep, slow breath from your belly.
• as you breathe in, count to four.
• hold your breath and count to seven at the top.
• exhale for eight counts through your mouth, completely emptying your lungs.
Repeat three to five times more or until you feel more at ease.
Some More Suggestions
Here are some pointers to consider as you practice deep breathing techniques.
Allow Time For Breathwork
Setting an alarm or timer to breathe may seem silly to you, but it can help ensure that you are getting these great deep breathing benefits on a regular basis.
When your alarm goes off, instead of rolling over and reaching for your phone, try a few rounds of these breathing exercises.
During High-Stress Situations
The best part about breathing for relaxation is that no one has to know you’re doing it, so you can do it whenever and wherever you want.
You probably have places or situations that you know will stress you out; in might be as simple as standing in line at the grocery store or being stuck in traffic. Take a moment to give your brain some sweet, sweet oxygen before the situation worsens.
Meditate On The Bible
See your breath work as an opportunity to mediate on God’s word. First off, pick a verse that you would like to understand more. Then, as you breathe, let the words flow out and think upon them. This practice of meditating on the Bible can help us grasp some beautiful truths about our God.
Keep this Book of the Law always on your lips; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful. Joshua 1:8