4 Reasons To Focus On Your Breath
Common, daily, healthy activities include brushing our teeth, getting physical exercise, socializing with others… but what about focusing on our breath? This simple breath observation can tell us a lot about the state of our nervous system, and help take steps to control our breathing. This control offers many benefits – it can help influence the regulation of the:
- Heart rate
- Blood pressure
Plus, since we have more control over exhalations, focusing on this part of our breathing is a good way of learning how to breathe deeper. Use the muscles between the ribs to squeeze air out of the lungs – when more air moves out, more air automatically gets taken in. As you continue breathe in and out, think of the cycle as having no beginning or end. Practice this exercise as often as you like, but consider making it part of your daily routine, and see how you feel after trying it for a few weeks!
For more insight into observing your breath, watch Dr. Weil discuss and practice Breath Observation.
The simplest breathing practice is just to observe the breath, nothing other than that. Just to keep the attention on the breath cycle without trying to influencing it.
There are far worse places to have your attention on than on your breath. Your thoughts, for example, or images in your mind which are often the source of unhappiness, fear, anxiety. So having your attention on the breath is like putting your mind in neutral.
And the easiest way to practice this is simply – in a seated position with your back straight – to let your eyes close gently and then simply follow the breath cycle. Especially the points in which inhalation changes to exhalation, and back, but just to keep your mind on your breath as long as you can.
So let’s try that for a few minutes – just sit comfortably, close your eyes, and observe your breathing.