Without full awareness of breathing there can be no development of meditative stability and understanding. —Thich Nhat Hanh, Buddhist teacher and author
Since yesterday you have taken about 20,000 breaths. In your lifetime, you’ll breathe about 100 million times. This is why learning to breathe well (i.e., slowly and deeply, with awareness) has such profound effects on physical, mental and emotional well-being.
Breathing is the link between body and mind. If your breath is slow and deep, the body and mind will relax. Conversely, shallow breathing, the way we normally breathe when under stress, contributes to anxiety.
In yoga, we relax ourselves by intentionally breathing and moving in ways that slow our systems down. We help trigger our “rest and digest” response, versus our “fight or flight” response.
For centuries, use of the breath to change physical and emotional states has had a long and rich tradition. Breathwork remains fundamental in modern-day programs of stress reduction.
Breathing mindfully in this way is like brushing your teeth; a basic practice for good health. When you learn breathing techniques, and practice them consistently, they are yours forever. You will always be able to draw upon these tools, both to calm yourself in challenging moments, and to prevent excess stress from building over time.
Join us for Nov. 19’s Yoga for Relaxation workshop, when we’ll explore breathing, mantras and movement for creating a deep sense of ease. In part 2, on February 4, 2018, we’ll experience how breathing and postures provide a stable foundation for meditation, and greater mental peace. Learn to truly relax and breathe!