Deep breathing for one minute a day is like taking a mini vacation and why not make it a family vacation. Here are five key benefits of deep breathing and how to start with a simple breathing exercise.
With things changing in our lives so fast, how can we keep up with everything? How can we relax when there is always more to do? Always things to work on? Sometimes the only thing we can do, the only thing we need to do in fact, is just Breathe. Literally. What if that were enough? What if breathing itself was enough to help you and also, if you can imagine, those around you get through what is needed. The kids fighting? The papers still undone. And you? Giving yourself the vital, life changing gift for even just 1-minute to... breath.
A 1-Mute Mini Vacation! Really? Is that even legal?! Once you get over the guilt of putting your to do list aside for even a minute, this suggestion may be seemingly simple and perhaps even trivial. Trust me, it is anything but that. This is the exact thing that helped turn my life around a few years ago, in fact. Starting with 1 minute a day. That’s all it took.
Of course there were many other steps I took after that, but it started with 1 breath at a time, 1-Minute a day. I was feeling like I was going to either need to quit my job and move to an ashram or perhaps end up someplace less glamorous if I didn’t do something soon. Then it hit me. Even if I were to drop everything and move away, or stay at the beach for a month (wouldn’t that be nice!), I would have to still have to come back to my life when I got back. Why not save myself the expense and learn what I needed to while being ‘in the world’?
The 1 minute “Mini Vacation” was the answer my meditation teacher taught me. But first, whether you are just getting started or are an experienced ‘deep breather’, consider these facts.
Key Benefits of Deep Breathing
Here are some key benefits to consider. Deeper, more relaxed ‘full-body’ breathing: https://www.drdavidwilliams.com/proper-breathing-improves-health
- Increases oxygen in the brain, promoting clearer thinking
- Lowers blood pressure and heart rate, promoting cardiovascular health
- Increases metabolism and proper elimination, encouraging weight loss
- Reduces stress responses in the body, mind and emotions
- Stimulates detoxification both due to physical massaging of the organs from the movement of the diaphragm as well as the increased oxygen level in the blood.
These reasons alone should give you pause. Ultimately, you will be inspired (a word which actually comes from the Latin word for breathing in) to incorporate deep breathing into your busy days once you actually experiencing the benefits for yourself. Thankfully, the felt benefits are usually immediate as well as long term. Let’s explore some basic techniques to help you get started. For those who have already been attending yoga classes and practicing Pranayama or other mindful breathing techniques, reviewing and practicing the basics is always useful.
You may want to become a ‘breathing advocate’ and share these life changing tools with others who many not have yet discovered this holy grail right inside themselves.
Getting Started: How to Know if You Are Deep Breathing
How do you know if you are ‘deep breathing’ in the first place? Most people breath very shallow and are not often aware of it. Thank goodness breathing is typically an automatic response in our body, otherwise we would often faunt from not breathing due to the fact that we are often unaware of our breath and even hold it at times.
In fact, your iPhone also has an app that can help you practice a deep breathing technique.
Check the state of your breath right now, in fact. If breath takes place in the body whether we are aware of it or not, why it is so important to discuss and be ‘aware of’? Consider that Pranayama (the science of breathing) is one of the main branches of the ancient Yogic tradition and. Let’s explore it in more details.
Simple Breathing Exercise
One way to start is by putting one hand lightly on your chest and the other on your belly. As you begin, simply notice which hand rises and falls. Now, as you inhale, let the air fill you up like you are pouring it into a cup - from bottom to top. The lower hand on the belly should rise first, then the chest. Reversing this, as you pour the air out with the exhale, as you’re emptying the cup, the air in the chest empties and then the belly. This is a lot of words for what can take about 5-10 seconds. As you continue and get more comfortable with the pattern, let yourself extend the inhales and exhales. Maintain a comfortable pace.
Ultimately, do not ‘stress’ about whether you are breathing right. Sort of defeats the purpose, right?! However, one vital point is that you want the belly to move. That means the diaphragm is working and doing its job. Let the breath fill your entire abdomen and into your expand into your hips, as if it could push them apart, then let it expand and fill the top of your chest all the way up to you colar bones, gently lifting your shoulders and even slightly pushing back on the shoulder blades. Now, that’s a deep breath!
The 1-Minute Vacation: Destress Right Where You Are
Count how many breaths you can comfortably do in a minute. It’s usually around 10, more or less. Pick a time of the day you are going to practice breathing more mindfully and deeply. You may even want to set your phone to remind you (a gentle chiming sound may be useful). Start with just 1 or 3 times a day. Decide to put what you are doing aside and take a minute to focus on your breath. Instead of watching the clock during the minute, simply and gently close your eyes to relax even more and just count the breaths. Once you get to the # that you originally determined you generally do in a minute, you made it. Its that simple. Practice being aware of your breath and nothing else. Just a minute. Take a mini vacation. You deserve it!
Will 1-Minute Really Matter?
Doubt that you will notice any difference? I did too, but trust me, it does and it’s worth it! After all, we waste much more than a minute throughout the day going in circles in our minds. Why not try something that may actually help us approach whatever you are working on with more clarity, calm and centeredness. The kids and paperwork will still be there when we finish, but we can handle them so much better.
The deep breathing for a week and let us know the benefits you have experienced. Likely, this will be just the beginning of your journey. Starting simple will give you something tangle that you can accomplish while experiencing noticeable improvement. If you are really ready for change in your life, dedicate yourself to do this for a month. See what changes take place, and what else you are ‘inspired’ to do. Let us know here and share this with your friends who may also be needing a little more inspiration in their lives as well!
Breathing Buddies and Family ‘Mini Vacations’:
Furthermore, when I got started with this technique, I had a ‘breathing buddy’, like an accountability buddy for working out or dieting. Someone that also wanted to do it with me. We texted each other every time you take our 1-minute vacation. In fact, when one person forgot, the text often helped remind them. We gave each other permission ahead of time to check in with us at the end of the day if either didn’t get their texts that day. We all need extra motivation and accountability when we begin to bring new habits into our lives.
In fact, you may also want to include the kids in on this. They will be curious when they start seeing mommy taking her “Mini Vacation” and may even start doing it on their own with you. This is great for kids of any age. After 10 days of this and you are on your way to a new you, one breath at a time.