Stressed? Here's How To Breathe It Out

resizeEylaBreathPhoto: Hollie Fernando /Courtesy of Eyla.
In the age of constant communication, 24/7 jobs, and mandatory multitasking, finding a moment for reflection is almost impossible — almost. Courtney Somer made mental wellness her mission, creating Eyla, an online resource packed with inspiration and real-life tools to maintain your personal peace. We'll be sharing some of this goodness every week on R29 Guest Stars, so whether you're looking to get spiritual, clear your mind, or just read some motivating interviews, Eyla is here to help you shine brighter.
“Of all the positive changes a person can make, learning to breathe deeply, and completly is probably the most effective for developing higher consciousness, and for increasing health, vitality, and connectedness in ones life.” — The Aquarian Teacher
In every moment we are in a cycle of breath, providing vital oxygen to our body, but what if the breath was a tool for so much more?
It is taught in yoga that all healing comes from the breath, and learning to master it can actually change your physiological make up. It also serves as the basis for all communication. There is breath first, then the words, which are the connection to all thoughts and emotions — so if you can control the breath, you can control the mind. If you don't, the mind dominates and exists as the “monkey mind,” jumping from thought to thought, place to place, suppressing the breath. It commands all words and emotions that dictate our communication and relationships with ourself and others. It helps to direct our lives and potential. For years, sages taught that taking control of the breath means taking control of our destiny.
Some of the benefits of long, deep breathing include relaxation and calm, reduction of the build up of toxins in the lungs, stimulation of brain chemicals (like endorphins that fight depression), and cleansing the blood. Breath helps control the moods, increase concentration, promotes vitality, and helps you feel connected to yourself and others. This simple technique can be taught to people of all ages, especially kids & teens, to help alleviate stress.
Most people learn to breath backwards (myself included): inhaling by pulling in the belly, resulting in shallow, chest breathing. Stress causes this type of breath, and continually breathing this way can lead to more stress in the body.
To learn to breath correctly, sit with a straight spine, relaxed shoulders and eyes closed. Breathing through the nose, put one hand on the navel. As you inhale, let your belly expand — and your hand should move with it. As you exhale, pull the navel in and up and empty the lungs completely. Inhale to become wider and exhale to make ourselves longer. Try to get your inhale to be as deep as your exhale. To keep your focus on your breath, inhale to the count of 5 and exhale to the count of 5. The slower and deeper, the better.
This post was authored by Courtney Somer.

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