Just back from the most spectacular few (too few!) days taking part in Wanderlust in beautiful O’ahu, Hawaii. While I will likely write an overview of my experience from this event, I wanted to quickly share a very useful tip that I learned about – Resonant Breathing.
The importance of breath cannot be emphasized enough. Your first breath represents life, while your last breath represents your transition into your next life.
While breath is an essential element of a yoga practice – providing the prana or vital force, you don’t have to practice yoga to practice resonant breathing.
Think of resonant breathing as a stress reset button – and who doesn’t want that in our hectic lives!
While there is many technical discussion regarding resonant breathing…in short, it helps to balance the complementary branches of our autonomic nervous system, which control our heart rate, blood pressure, digestion, respiration, and many other automatic functions of the body.
Resonant breathing has been shown to provide a wide array of benefits, including:
- Increases pulmonary function
- Lowers blood pressure
- Has positive applications for anxiety and depression
- Improves baroreflex gain
- Improves heart rate variability
- Tones the vagus nerve
- Increases resiliency
- Increases the ability to handle stress
- Leads towards emotional balance
- Clinical improvements in asthma
By breathing at resonance, we enter into an even balance between the two branches of our autonomic nervous system, the sympathetic (which moves us towards activity) and the parasympathetic, which moves us towards rest.
The sympathetic branch is our accelerator, and speeds us up. The parasympathetic is our braking system, which slows us down. We alternate between these two every second of the day, with each breath we take.
As our days get hectic we tend towards this acceleration. By consciously breathing we tell our brain to slow down. Essentially applying the brakes when needed.
There is a great app to help you practice your resonant breathing – called aptly enough – The Breathing App. Developed by Deepak Chopra, MD, FACP, and Eddie Stern – the app is free to download.
Give it a try for a few minutes a day – I am currently working on 5 minutes, but hope to increase this to 10 minutes or even 20 minutes per day. You can pick the amount of time you want to practice and the ratio of inhale/exhale.
I will be doing this for the next 30 days and will let you know what magical changes have occurred.
Live. Love. Laugh. Grow.
Breathe sticker courtesy of MyMatMyMantra