There are so many benefits to deep breathing. It can help with physical pain, sleep disorders, anxiety, asthma, depression, etc,. Just because we know how to breathe doesn’t mean we are taking advantage of all the great things that can come from it. Most of us breath in a very shallow and aimless manner, with stataco jerks. We are so used to this that it takes mindfulness to alter the breath. But it is easier than you may think to develop an unconscious habit of mindful deep breathing. Once we gain attention to our breathing and make an effort to stretch and lengthen our breath, we easily start breathing deeply. However, as soon as our minds start to wander in some other direction we return to the shallow breathing. But there is a remedy.
The first method is known as the Pause Breath method. This is a simple, but powerful technique. All you need to do is concentrate on the two pauses that occur while breathing, the inhalation and the exhalation. Just by doing this you will start taking continuous deep breaths. When you inhale deeply, you will need to exhale deeply. Try this now. You can do this technique anywhere and everywhere. Just observe your breath. So it for 5 minutes. Start focusing on these breathing pauses twice a day for 15 minutes each. Try to do the session of pause breath in a quiet, peaceful place at first. As you do this, you will find that even when you stop focusing your attention on the pauses, you will still be breathing deeper.
The second method is called the Pavlov method. We use “conditioned reflexes” for this method. There is a long list of things we do everyday without fail, like driving, getting dressed, reading the newspaper, internet surfing, etc,. we will use these activities as external stimuli to train our nervous systems (minds) to automate the process of deep breathing.
Let us take walking as an example. We walk to the bus stop, or the bosses office, or down the supermarket aisles. We do all of this with purpose. So all you need to do is choose one of these daily walks. Just one. Now when you walk for that purpose give attention to your breath. Be aware of the pauses. Try to breath deeply. For this one walking purpose always breath deeply. For all other occasions of walking, forget about it and take in breath the way you normally do.
So suppose you choose to do this every morning you walk out to your car. Always do this deep breathing. After you are in your car you can breathe normally again. You are not required to do deep breathing all day long. Just to the car. You will be unconsciously training your mind to start associating the process of deep breathing while walking to the car. The simultaneous process of walking to the car and deep breathing will become automatic. You’ll see that when you forget to breath deeply while walking to the car, your mind will remind you and your body will respond. A “conditioned reflex” will be created! You can apply this to other daily activities you do, like taking a shower, or washing the dishes, or checking your email.
If you do this several times a day during your daily activities, you can be deep breathing for 3 or 4 hours daily. Just imagine all that pure oxygen running through your brain and body!
Do you practise deep breathing? How has it benefited you?