A simple fact of life is that there will always be challenges!
When confronting these challenges, pause to take a deep breath! Have you ever noticed how an upset child breathes? —short, shallow, irregular breaths. Conversely, when you are in deep sleep, your breath is long and deep. Breathing is an involuntary action but it can also be voluntary. Your emotions often influence your breath, but your breath can also have a strong effect on your emotions.
When you breathe in, the diaphragm (a muscle that separates the chest from the abdomen) drops into the abdominal cavity. A vacuum is created and air is sucked into the lungs. When you exhale, the diaphragm returns to the chest and air is pushed out. A rich, deep breath requires abdominal breathing. But, most people breathe shallowly, only into the uppers lobes of their lungs. Shallow breath poorly supplies oxygen to the body and mind. Poor oxygenation exaggerates anxiety and pain. This is why pregnant women are taught breathing exercises to prepare for childbirth.
You can tell if you are breathing properly by placing a hand on your abdomen and seeing if it rises when you inhale and falls when you exhale. If this occurs, you are breathing properly and effectively. If not, practice so that you can breathe easily and naturally while optimizing your breathing. Yogis, singers and wind instrument players breathe this way because there is maximal air exchange.
I teach my Yoga students breath control in a technique called pranayama. If you’d like to learn how to calm your nerves and improve your balance, flexibility and range of motion, join me and others in our weekly yoga classes and learn this technique of breath control.
Chiropractic can also influence breath. The brain and the nerves traveling from it regulate our breathing. Your cervical (neck) nerves are the ones that control the diaphragm. Relieving pressure in the chest (thorax) can increase the capacity of the lungs. Chiropractic care can help to maximize your ability to breathe deeply. So, when life gets difficult, take a breath and get aligned in body, mind and spirit.