Stephanie Rooker, Sound Healing Instructor www.voicejourney.net
The Medicine of Breath
Breath is our first and most basic medicine. How can breath be medicine, you ask? Because breathing, all by itself, can ease symptoms of many health issues. It can help with anxiety, depression, insomnia (trouble sleeping), post-traumatic stress (PTS), and attention deficit disorder (ADD), among others. Your breath can relieve health problems because so many of them are worsened or even caused by stress. Ancient traditions of yoga and meditation as well as modern-day research agree that controlled breathing helps with stress. Your breath lets you change your stress level and improve your health!
How does it work?
Breathing can help to nourish and restore your whole body. The air you breathe in fuels your body. The air you breathe out let’s go of waste from your body. This is a huge help! Your breath also acts as the undercover conductor of how your body works.
Your lungs and heart work together to give your body oxygen and remove carbon dioxide. They must stay in sync. Our breath reacts to our hearts’ needs. For example, when you exercise or become excited or nervous, your heart rate goes up. You may notice that you start to breathe faster. But your breath doesn’t always have to follow your heart. When you control your breath, you can change the pace of your heart rate.
You can also change your entire nervous system with controlled breathing. It can help with your digestion, how you process food, your immune system, how you fight off germs, and your state of mind. When you slow down your breath and focus on taking long breaths out, you calm your nerves. It helps your body and mind to relax. When you take short, quick breaths and focus on breathing in, your body and mind get stirred up.
Try it out!
You can practice with a technique called “1:2 breathing.” You will breathe out for twice as long as you breathe in. If you breathe in for a count of 2, then you will breathe out for a count of 4. Repeat this 10 times. As you get used to counts of 2 for breathing in and 4 for breathing out, you may want to raise the counts to 3 and 6 or even 4 and 8. This all depends on how fast you are counting!
Luckily, you breathe all the time, so you can practice anytime and at any place. Even if you don’t measure your breaths in 1:2 counting, taking a few deep breaths in and a few slow, long breaths out can make a world of difference!