With mindfulness increasingly being encouraged for our wellbeing, I believe that we can all benefit from being mindful of our breathing. Below Judith Davies, Breathwork Practitioner, explains the importance of correct breathing:

Breathing is the most important thing any one of us will ever do – our breathing happens naturally and we don’t even think about it and yet hardly anyone breathes correctly. Most people’s breath is shallow and only enters the top part of their lungs – chest breathing. These breaths are actually stress breaths – they activate the Sympathetic Nervous System and send us into fight or flight mode so that we are introducing a level of stress into our bodies with every breath we take. Unfortunately this has become ‘the norm’ for us and we aren’t even aware of it.

The antidote to this is to bring the breath down so that the diaphragm moves – or more simply ‘belly breathing’. This activates the Para-sympathetic Nervous System and sends messages around the body that we are safe and can relax. This should be our ‘normal’ breathing state.

We all breathe beautifully as babies but as a reaction to life’s upsets and traumas we tend to become shallow ‘chest breathers’. The good news is that this can be changed. You can learn to make diaphragmatic or belly breathing normal for you. It does take time, awareness and effort but it is one of the greatest gifts you can give yourself.

If I could change only one thing that would benefit humanity the most – it would be the ability to breathe properly.” Andrew Weil MD

Thanks to Judith Davies: http://www.spinalbreath.com/ for this contribution.