The Art of Breathing artwork
Mental Health Training

The Art of Breathing

  • S4E158
  • 07:00
  • October 3rd 2021

What does mindfulness mean to you?

 Like many of us, we have heard about mindfulness. I knew that it implied paying attention, opening our awareness to what is happening now, in the present moment, and accepting it without judging or trying to control it.

Mindfulness is unquestionably linked to breathing, yet we all know how to breathe because it is a natural phenomenon and doesn't need the practice anyway? 

Practising mindfulness by using your breath as the starting point and the focus not only opens your awareness to the present moment, which is what mindfulness is all about.

Instead of worrying about the future or dwelling on past actions, you are focused solely on remaining in the present moment. Whereby, reduce rumination (say goodbye to overthinking everything!)

Mindfulness originates from ""sati,"" a word in the ancient Indian language of Pali, which roughly translates to present-moment awareness.

Mindfulness is commonly integrated into yoga and tai chi practices, as well as meditations.

There's mindful walking and even mindful showers. However, the most popular way to practice mindfulness is through meditation.

You probably already know that meditation is a practice in quieting your mind.

Breathing meditation

So what is mindful breathing? 

Being aware of your breathing means observing and opening your consciousness to your breath: to your breathing in, and you're breathing out, without controlling or judging it in any way.

How to break a bad habit

Many of us have forgotten how to breathe well. By adulthood, we've picked up some unhelpful breathing habits. A baby breathes deep into its belly in a slow and steady rhythm. Stress can cause the body to go into a "fight or flight state, making us feel wired and ready for action.

One of the physiological changes we see happen in this state is that our breathing rate increases. Holding your stomach in, something lots of us do subconsciously can also make your breathing shallow, rapid or irregular.

Press rest

Breathing is an autonomic bodily function that we can also control. All breathing techniques involve a variation of three elements: inhaling, holding the breath, and exhaling. Depending on the desired effect, the pattern changes. The 4-7-8 Method, used for deep relaxation, involves inhaling for a count of four, holding the breath for seven, and exhaling for eight. 

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Mental Health Training