Using the Breath for Relaxation and the Balancing of the Autonomic Nervous System
Science: The autonomic nervous system controls your vital systems and organs that keep you alive automatically and without conscious effort. It can direct your body to go into survival (fight or flight) or into rest and digest. The most common response shown with the Heart Rate Variability Assessment in my clinical practice has been survival over 90% of the time.
Some common symptoms of survival are chronic inflammation, degeneration, high blood pressure, pain, muscle tension, insomnia, stagnant healing, anxiety, headaches, indigestion, stiffness, and memory loss. When the nervous system perceives that it is threatened due to overwhelming stress, toxicity, or trauma, the body will innately trigger the survival response. This will inhibit the rhythm of rest and digest thus not giving proper attention to healing, balance and regeneration. One thing to know about the human body is that it does not think. The body only responds.
Spirit: Mastering the awareness of when you are in rhythm and not in rhythm is truly a conscious practice. Responding with what is best in the moment is the ultimate follow through. Returning to the breath is the simplest action step you can do to bring you back to peace, calm, and harmony. Or, it can bring you back to feeling alive, outwardly creative, and active.
Breathing Exercise 1: “Wherever your hand goes your breath of life flows.”
1. Place your hands below your belly button.
2. Breathe into the area, expanding the belly and feeling the rise under your hands for 4 seconds.
3. Hold your breath for 4 seconds.
4. Exhale for 4 seconds, bringing the belly into the spine and feeling the falling away under your hands while maintaining a gentle contact.
5. Hold your breath out for 4 seconds and repeat.
Breathing Exercise 2: "Continual balance, release, and heart connection."
1. Place your hands over the heart area.
2. Breathe into the heart area right under your hands, expanding the chest while keeping the abdomen still for 4 seconds.
3. Hold your breath for 4 seconds.
4. Exhale as much of the air out for 7 seconds, intending release of anything that is no longer beneficial to you and intending the connection to your heart.
5. Hold your breath out for 1 second and repeat.
Note: For any of the breathing exercises, you may focus on a feeling such as gratitude, appreciation, peace, love, acceptance…etc. For areas of discomfort or pain, you may place your hands over the area and bring the attention of the breath there. It is completely natural to tap into your own rhythm. It's like playing music. After a while of practice, you will no longer need the music sheet and will play from your heart and soul.
Benefits: Practicing breath work is an amazing tool to assist with your ability to handle and adapt to stress and the changes that occur in every moment.
Living the Rhythm of the Breathe
Have you ever felt out of rhythm with your breath and how this rhythm shows up in your life? When we are not in rhythm, we use up energy and pure will power to go about our day inefficiently. This results in short term and long term fatigue of the mind, body, and emotions.
Applying the rhythm of breathing in and breathing out throughout the day allows for efficiency, ease, and flow. When we breathe in, it is symbolic of being more active in our life through our work, outward creativity, movement, activity and energy. When we breathe out, it is symbolic of our stillness, heart, spirit, connection, centering, and peace. When you plan your day, week, or month, ask yourself, ” When do I breathe in and when do I breathe out?
Change begins with one breath.
Have a beautiful day!