I was once told by a wise teacher "You live your life the way you breathe". It got me thinking, what does this mean? What type of breather am I? I wanted to know so I spent some time researching it and came up with 3 typical ways we are most likely to breathe and some of the side effects that may come with these different types of breathing. If your curious about this too check out the list below to see which type of breathing you tend towards and if it matches up with the state of mind you currently live your life from. Weather the statement above is true or not I learned something about myself, how I breathe and how it relates to the state of mind in which I am living. I invite you to experiment with the different ways of breathing listed below and notice how you feel. Which one do you tend to naturally and which one makes you feel great? The good news is if you don't like it you can change it by changing your breath.
1. Unconscious Breath Holding. Inhale, holding the breath before letting go of the exhale, or unconscious breath holding for long moments in-between breaths. This type of breathing can cause nervousness and anxiety. A person breathing like this may have a tendency to take things in as well as have a hard time letting go. Breath holding can be a sign of over control, or come from trauma or fear.
2. Quick or Shallow Breath. Quick shallow breaths, not gasping but breathing quickly from the chest using only the first quarter of the lungs. This type of breathing can cause one to be excited, anxious, unfocused or un-engaged. Some side effects can be constant motion, fast talking, distraction and agitation. Breathing quickly may cause one to have a hard time connecting to others, sitting still or focusing.
3.Balanced Breath. A deep breath in with a long inhale that is equal to its exhale. This type of breathing is often used in meditation, yoga and other mindfulness practices. Our body will breathe like this for us when we are sleeping. This type of breathing carries the most oxygen to our brain and vital organs and can be deeply restorative. When practiced for several minutes at a time some side effects can include feelings of peace, balance and wellbeing. Breathing like this may also help calm anxiety and increase focus as well as many other health benefits.
So do you have a favorite? How about one that you have a tendency towards? Are they the same? I do and mine are not! The truth is that we all have had experience with each of these types of breathing at different times in our lives. This exercise is not meant to be take to seriously but instead created as a playful way to bring awareness to how you are breathing and perhaps help you take a look at how it may relate to how you are living. There is not a right or wrong way, you will breathe how you breathe and its all good as long as you keep doing it!
*Do this exercise with yourself first trying the different types of breathing taking note on how you feel with each one. Once you have it down try doing it with your kid/s. See if you can get them to notice a difference in their mood, anxiety levels and ability to focus. Have them tell you which type of breathing makes them feel best.
How do you want to breathe and how do you want to live? You get to decide!