How to use Conscious Breathing to Transform Your Life
In this post:
What is conscious breathing?
Harnessing the power of conscious breathing is the first step towards a more mindful, happy and fulfilled life! Sources: 11, 19, 20
Conscious breathing creates a state of greater self awareness as well as being transformative in itself.
Simply put, conscious breathing uses awareness and control of your breathing, by uniting body and mind so you can bring the energy of mindfulness into each moment.
You may wonder what it is about conscious breathing that makes them it so important for health. Since breathing is an important part of the autonomic nervous system, it has been shown that by influencing your breathing, you increase overall awareness as well as improve your health, mood, digestion and much more. Sources: 1, 8
Luckily, anyone can learn the technique of conscious breathing and use it on a regular basis. Conscious breathing can help to strengthen both mental and physical health plus it has the huge bonus of being really easy to do!
The Mental Benefits of Conscious Breathing
There are many benefits to conscious breathing including:
- decreasing stress
- improving inner peace
- reducing fear and worry
- helping to manage anxiety
- helping to improve dealing with conflicts and issues
Conscious breathing can also help your mind by giving it enough oxygen to focus and strengthen your concentration. It can have a positive impact on memory and improve test results for students who are taking exams in school.
The Physical Benefits of Conscious Breathing
Conscious breathing also has a positive impact on your overall physical health too. Reported benefits include:
- strengthening the lung function
- reducing asthma
- positively affecting the cardiovascular system
- improve sleep
- improve energy levels as it helps oxygenate the body
Your body needs a constant flow of oxygen to function properly. By getting more oxygen to the body you improve not just the circulation but also the blood flow.
The practice of self-consciousness can be done by perceiving the emotions that come from different situations and noticing how to breathe through the chest and diaphragm. By paying attention to and observing your breath, you can cultivate mindfulness in your body and mind. Sources: 20
Putting time and attention into your breath while you breathe consciously can help to calm the mind and improve oxygen flow to both the brain and the nervous system.
The more you practice conscious breathing, the better you get at it.
How to practice conscious breathing
Conscious breathing requires you to focus on how you breathe. It makes you think about the process and helps you to regulate it. Conscious breathing encourages you to live in the moment and enjoy it.
Here’s a simple way to do it. First off find a quiet room and avoid interruptions from phones, devices and people for 5 to 10 minutes.
Then relax and breathe in deeply through your nose. Fill your lungs as much as possible.
As you breathe in, your abdomen will rise.
Hold the breathe for a moment.
Then exhale gently.
You can feel your abdomen go back down as you exhale.
Then repeat the process
You can become more aware of the process by putting your hand on your stomach. Combining meditation with conscious breathing makes the technique even more effective.
Pay attention to the experiences associated with breathing, such as how the breath passes through your nostrils, feels under your skin, how it fills the lungs and then how it feels as it leaves your body.
Full body breathing
Another way to consciously breathe is as follows. Take a big breath each time you inhale, stretch your abdomen and chest and squeeze your diaphragm to drain the rest of the breath. If you notice that you are holding your breath and the tension is building up, a simple technique is to hold your breath pleasantly for as long as possible, then release a larger breath with a whoosh and a sigh of relief. Sources: 6, 9, 14
When you remember to breathe evenly and deeply during the conscious breathing process, it becomes physiologically impossible to maintain muscle tension.
The breath feels more natural, movements feel more effortless and you can feel the beautiful breathing of the body. By consciously using the diaphragm to squeeze you encourage both lungs to breath fully. Sources: 7, 12, 13
The Equal Breathing Exercise
One exercise you can try is The Equal Breathing exercise, which focuses on regular inhalation and exhalation of the same duration. It is a simple and effective deep breathing exercise that can be used almost anywhere.
The idea is to breathe in completely, breathe from the abdomen to the chest and then passively let go with the exhale. Sources: 0, 3
Simple Conscious Breathing Exercise
The simplest conscious breathing exercise as follows. Breathe in deep oxygen, hold your breath for 3-4 seconds and then exhale with a sensation in your nose that you cannot feel.
When you release the breath and breath slowly and gently, you will experience the emotions generated by conscious breathing.
Breathing with Yoga & Meditation
Whilst conscious breathing is a part of both meditation and yoga, trying to use some breathing techniques in yoga can be difficult. As an example for first timers going into Hot Yoga classes, many struggle with keeping their mouths closed in the 90 degree heated room whilst practicing. The act of conscious breathing helps to make this become second nature for practitioners who make conscious breathing a part of their routine.
Taking the time to consciously breathe as a part of life changes the way you live in the moment. By paying attention to the sensations of the breath every time you breathe in or out, you can notice your inner state and adjust to the world around you.
As you become more aware of breathing, steps can be taken to correct your breathing patterns for better health and well-being. If you pay attention not only to inhaling and exhaling, you bring your mind back into the body, but also your heart, thoughts and emotions. Sources: 5, 6, 19, 21
Conscious breathing is a teachable process that is easy to learn. It can have a positive influence on many aspects of your life.
Let me know in the comments if this is something you do? How do you practice conscious breathing, and what impact it’s had on you.