“Breathing in, I calm body and mind. Breathing out, I smile. Dwelling in the present moment I know this is the only moment,” said Thich Nhat Hanh, the Buddhist monk, prolific author, and teacher.
There is a reason why Eastern cultures have always kept slow breathing at the core of their practices.
And the science backs it too.
The study published in 2018, “How Breath-Control Can Change Your Life: A Systematic Review on Psycho-Physiological Correlates of Slow Breathing,” linked slow breathing to improved behavioral outcomes.
Moreover, it noted that slow breathing increased heart rate variability, respiratory sinus arrhythmia, and alpha brain wave activity.
So, that’s just about answers, “Why is better breathing important to your health?”
But we will go ahead and look at the top 5 benefits of breathing better, backed by recent researches and studies:
1). Reduces Stress and Anxiety:
Deep breathing activates the parasympathetic nervous system, which is responsible for mood, digestion, and heart rate. This sends more oxygen to your brain and other organs.
Thus, reducing the taxing work and calming your mind and body.
2). Improves Concentration and Focus:
In this era of the attention economy, focus and concentration are currencies. And the breathing practice yet again comes as a solution to that.
The 2019 study titled, “Chapter 6 – Short-Term Mindful Breath Awareness Training Improves Inhibitory Control And Response Monitoring,” found mechanisms about how mindfulness meditation leads to positive changes in cognitive and affective functioning.
3). Increases Core Stability:
Core strength is something many link to pumping iron in the gym but what if we tell you that diaphragmatic breathing does it too? A 2012 review article, titled “Diaphragmatic Breathing The Foundation of Core Stability”, notes that the diaphragm is the primary muscle of respiration and acts as a postural stabilizer.
Considering this, strength and conditioning experts should look at breathing pattern assessment and retraining as better breathing habits may positively impact core stability and improve the overall conditioning of the sportsperson.
4). Curbing Insomnia and Improving Sleep:
There are tons of breathing apps online that claim that breathing exercises improve sleep. There’s truth to it too. In a 2019 study, Self-Regulation of Breathing as an Adjunctive Treatment of Insomnia, researchers suggested that modulation of the autonomic nervous system (ANS) through slow breathing techniques along with relaxation techniques and sleep hygiene may be a powerful tool in battling insomnia.
5). Good Skin:
Can breathing exercises help you battle age? Surprisingly there seems to be scientific evidence that it can. The exact mechanism by which it does this is uncertain, but for those interested in finding out more, a 2016 article review titled, “Breathing to younger skin: ‘reversing the molecular mechanism of skin aging with yoga” discussed how the correlation of insulin regulation and glucose control can be explained by improvement and maybe reversal of the impact on AGE protein accumulation in the body tissue.
The above research and studies indicates that breathing alone can be a powerful answer to many lifestyle-induced ailments in contrast to pharmaceutical interventions which tend to be limiting.
But a word of caution. Remember, there is a proper technique to every breathing practice. So, make sure you have mastered the techniques. Talk to a specialist before you kickstart your journey.
If you feel any distress during or after doing any breathing exercise, seek immediate medical help.
Breath: Where The East And The West Converge
Thus, contrary to how the mainstream media sells breathing as something that comes from the Eastern mystics, you’d be surprised that many Western disciples like breath coaches, nurses, therapists, sports trainers have breathing as part of their routine.
So, it’s safe to say despite that vast chasm separating the two worlds, breathing is that bridge where the East and the West can converge and offer you a possible solution without the side effects and little supervision.
Learn more about how Breath Technologies is creating the Rosetta Stone of Breath. It is a technology platform using real time data to provide missing links required to measure, train, study and communicate healthy breathing practices. www.BreathTechnologies.com