Simple deep breathing exercises relax muscles, calm the nervous system, reduce pain and anxiety, and encourage proper digestion. By focusing on breathwork and learning to control it through coordination and practice, it promotes better health. A simple trick to check if you are breathing deeply is to put your hand on your belly and breathe all the way into your abdomen, and allow your hand to raise as the belly fills with breath. Then, keep inhaling to fill up your lungs before you take a long, slow exhale.
Both Qigong and Yoga are excellent practices to help develop deep breathing techniques.
Qigong (meaning “Life energy cultivation”) is a practice of aligning breath, movement and awareness for exercise, healing, and meditation to cultivate balance. A qigong practice typically involves reaching a calm mindful state while breathing rhythmically, coordinated with slow repetition of fluid movement.
At 8branches, we are pleased to partner with Health & Power to provide Qigong breathwork classes based upon Chinese medicine theory and practice. Our classes incorporate healing sound techniques for balancing meridians and organ systems of the body. These techniques are able to be taught individually or in a group setting and very effective in improving overall health by cultivating, moving and gathering Qi.
Yoga has become an incredibly popular form of exercise and meditation in the United States in the past decade. At the very core of this practice is Pranayama, which promotes proper yogic breathing. In a Yogic point of view, proper breathing is essential to bring more oxygen to the blood and to the brain. The union of Pranayama (breathwork) and the Asanas (or poses) is considered a form of purification and self-discipline, connecting both mind and body.
It is important to understand that breathwork and movement go hand-in-hand.
Guided meditation and mindfulness are also powerful tools. 8branches offers regular meditation classes in group and private sessions. Feel free to contact us with any questions on how to get started. Other sources we like include: Deepak Chopra and the Chopra Center allow you to listen and purchase guided exercises for meditation and mindfulness. Jon Kabat-Zin, the founding executive director of the Center for Mindfulness in Medicine, Health Care, and Society at University of Massachusetts Medical School, is another popular teacher of mindfulness meditation. Listen or watch the Jon Kabat-Zin Soul Series interview with Oprah- it’s a long one, so download it and enjoy listening during a car ride or a mindful walk… CAUTION: don’t get too relaxed while moving.