Now more than ever in Australia, and particularly in Melbourne, more of us are feeling anxious, stressed, depressed, frustrated or angry… And often all at the same time! Thankfully, there’s a simple thing you can do to alleviate these feelings and it involves nothing more than doing what comes naturally.
Just breathe. That’s right; in, out, in, out. It’s amazing to think that something you do around 20,000 times a day subconsciously can provide such significant benefits.
The issue is, of course, that most of us just breathe to survive. Our breaths are shallow and short, and while absolutely essential to life this doesn’t provide other substantive benefits. To harness the power of the breath we need to take the time to breathe fully and deeply.
Two ways to do this are through yoga therapy and meditation classes, both of which we offer at The Karma Studio in the Bayside Melbourne suburb of Sandringham. These practices bring attention to breathing (think of it as conscious breathing rather than subconscious breathing) and you can enjoy them even during COVID-19 lockdown.
Simply book a group or private yoga therapy or meditation online session through The Karma Studio and we can get through these troubling times together!
The power of the breath
Place your hand on the lower part of your stomach and take a slow, deep breath through your mouth, feeling your belly expand. Then exhale by breathing out through your mouth, feeling your belly contract. Simple, right? Keep doing this for a few minutes and see the difference this can make.
How can something as simple as conscious breathing make such a difference?
- Simply by focussing on your breath, rather than work, relationships or anything else that’s happening in your life, can help you feel calmer and provide a sense of balance.
- Studies have shown that deep breathing can decrease blood pressure.
- Conscious breathing has been shown to reduce stress. This in turn can help with insomnia, anxiety, panic attacks, depression, autoimmune disease and chronic health conditions.
- There is evidence that deep breathing can also help mental function, focus and cognitive performance.
What is it about deep breathing that is so powerful? Is it the physical act of the breath, the increased oxygen, the flushing of carbon dioxide from the body, the mindfulness and relaxation that deep breathing provides or something else? While opinion varies, in truth it’s probably all of the above and more, and there’s likely to be individual factors at play.
Whatever the reason, take the time to breathe consciously every day and join a yoga therapy or mediation class regularly. You’ll be reaping the benefits in no time.
Conscious breathing – which yoga therapy and mediation classes can teach you – is more powerful than you might think.