It seems silly to need a reminder to do something that your body does naturally, doesn’t it? And yet, how does this gentle reminder hit you right now, as you’re sitting here in front of your computer? What is the quality of your breath in this moment? What about when you hear it called out in the midst of a yoga class – don’t forget to breathe! Does it make you realize that somehow you had forgotten?
Take a moment, right now, and just notice your breath. No judgment – just notice. Go ahead, I’ll wait…
If you’re like me, and you’ve been sitting in your office chair for over an hour, looking at a computer screen, you probably noticed that your breath is rather shallow. Some of you, after spending that moment in awareness, might have tried deepening your breath. Great! How did that feel? If you haven’t already tried it, do it now – take a long, deep breath.
Ahhh… There are many sensations that might go along with a full inhale and exhale, but for most of us, the feeling is good. That exchange of oxygen and carbon dioxide stimulates the brain, relaxes the nervous system, and fills us with vitality. Our modern lifestyle doesn’t naturally induce long deep breathing the way, say, working on the farm or hunting and gathering might, but that doesn’t mean that this practice isn’t available to us every second of the day. Sometimes, we just need a little reminder.
Want more? Take a look a the Long Deep Breathing exercise that Yogi Bhajan recommended. Once you get the practice down, see if you can set aside 5 minutes each day to really fill your lungs. C’mon, you don’t have 5 minutes? Just look at what it will do for you:
- Relaxes and calms, due to influence on parasympathetic nervous system.
- Increases the flow of prana.
- Reduces and prevents the build-up of toxins in the lungs by encouraging the clearing of the small air sacs (alveoli).
- Stimulates the brain chemicals—endorphins—that help fight depression.
- Brings the brain to a new level of alertness.
- Pumps the spinal fluid to the brain, giving greater energy.
- Breathing long and deep, plus concentration, stimulates the pituitary gland to secrete, enhancing the intuition.
- Filling the lungs to capacity revitalizes and re-adjusts the magnetic field.
- Cleanses the blood.
- Regulates the body’s pH (acid-akaline balance), which affects the ability to handle stressful situations.
- Energizes, and increases vitality.
- Aids in releasing blockages in meridian energy flow.
- Activates and clears the nerve channels.
- Aids in speeding up emotional and physical healing.
- Aids in breaking subconscious habit patterns such as insecurities and fears.
- Aids in fighting addictions.
- Re-channels previous mental conditioning on pain so as to reduce or eliminate pain.
- Gives capacity to manage negativity and emotions, supporting clarity, cool headedness, and patience.
Benefits listed here are from The Teachings of Yogi Bhajan, KRI International Teacher Training Manual Level I, p. 92