The benefits of deep breathing
5 Benefits of breathing practices
Heal, relax and energize
With your breath, you can tap into all the systems in the body to open up, energize, detoxify and strengthen. In this article, I will discuss the physical benefits of deep breathing and explore the most important of all: how the breath is the voice of your soul and realizes the essence of what you are.
1. Strengthen, open up and clean the lungs
While this may seem obvious, it is good to understand that oxygen is the most essential natural resource required by our cells. We can go without food for up to 60 days and without water for 3 days, but we won't last for more than a couple of minutes without oxygen! From a purely physical point of view, breath equals life. So by strengthening and opening up your breathing system you will increase your energy levels as well.
2. Boost the immune system
A lot of research with some amazing results has been done on how you can use the breath to enhance your immune system. Prolonged breathing exercises reduce inflammation, and increase the number of CD-4 cells, which are the immune system’s helper cells that are involved in sending signals to other cells telling them to destroy infections.
3. Increase energy
By unblocking and harmonizing all the systems your body does not have to spend a great amount of energy into healing and fixing. Many blockages can exist in both your mind and body which causes a lot of energy to be wasted. When removing these blockages with the use of breathing exercises, this wasted energy can be set free and used for other purposes.
4. Balance both the nervous & endocrine system
Yogic breathing techniques have been proven to relieve stress, anxiety, depression and negative thought patterns. By following up deep breathing practices with mindful and calm breathing, we activate the parasympathetic nervous system which is the so-called “rest and digest” system. By relaxing and slowing down the breath and the movements of our diaphragm, we can influence the system enormously through the vagus nerve that spreads from your brain to your lungs, heart and other organs. You can activate your own vagus nerve. Simply breathe out very slowly. Can you feel how your heart rate drops and your mind relaxes instantly!
5. Most importantly: Become aware of your "Higher Self"
With these wonderful breathing techniques, we very much improve health and strength in mind and body. However, it is also good to understand that no matter how much you train your mind and body, this physical body will pass. The fact of this reality is that nothing is permanent and everything always changes. That is why we want to realize the deeper truth: the source of our being. We want to go beyond the physical realm of the non-permanent reality and get identified with what is beyond the fluctuation of this duality existence. As a human being we are a combination of different elements:
- solid matter (flesh, blood and bones etc.)
- energy (electric; chemical; electromagnetic; thermal etc.)
- consciousness (pure consciousness is your higher Self)
Through yogic breathing techniques, we develop ways to become aware of the "observer within", our higher Self. We learn to observe our breath so that we can experience the body and mind from an observer perspective. We then experience that our breathing happens automatically. Likewise, we learn to observe our thoughts and feelings, our heartbeat, the blood flow and all systems in the body moving like a flow of energy. It is life happening within us. Life is already happening without us trying to do something, change something or interfere. We become aware of this timeless center around which everything is happening. So what is observing that? What is this consciousness within us that is aware of all that? This is our so-called 'true nature', the source of our being. When we become aware of that, we are able to realize our higher Self, a pure consciousness within which is: non-judgmental (as judgments are made by the mind); is incomplete acceptance; is kindness and love. When we can tap into that source and live from that, life will become bliss.
May all be blessed with realizing our true Self and achieve real peace and happiness!