“Let everything that has breath praise the Lord.”
-Psalm 150:6 (NIV)
Paying attention to the air as it passes in and out of our lungs is called “mindful breathing.”
I have found mindful breathing to be a common thread used to improve overall well-being in most of the holistic healing techniques that I have studied, especially rooted in the ancient spiritual wisdom of China and India. Instructions on various mindful breathing techniques are given in most holistic healing traditions from around the globe.
The benefits of mindful breathing techniques are realized through practice, not through intellectual understanding alone.
I am thrilled that mindfulness and mindful breathing are now considered evidence-based interventions! I use many different mindful breathing techniques from various cultural traditions for my own daily self-care and I teach mindful breathing exercises to my patients for the following researched benefits:
Relief from symptoms of anxiety and depression
Increase overall well-being
Two leaders who I admire in the field of mindfulness-based stress reduction and mind-body medicine medicine include Jon Kabat-Zinn, PhD and John Astin, PhD. With the evidence published in their pioneering research and that of their peers, mindfulness and mindful breathing are now making their way into the mainstream.
Sustained concentration can eventually become meditation, which is also a powerful practice for deep relaxation.
Relaxation Breathing is one of the first exercises that I teach my patients to stabilize their nervous system and optimize their recovery. In my physical therapy continuing education courses on dizziness, vertigo, imbalance and yoga, I include instruction on breathing techniques that my patients have found most beneficial.
I have found that patients who use exercises on awareness of breathing, or mindful breathing exercises to stabilize their nervous system tend to enjoy better outcomes and more relief from their undesirable symptoms.
So breathe with me and notice that you are alive right now.