Breath. Such a basic and common thing, that we rarely think about it. It just is.
We go about our day inhaling and exhaling automatically thanks to the quiet ally – Autonomic Nervous System.
So what does it do for us, this silent companion ?
Apart from breathing, it regulates bodily functions like heart rate, metabolism, body temperature, digestion, sexual arousal.
The reason we are talking about ANS in a Breath article is that, unlike other functions of ANS, breath is one that we can learn to consciously manage and control.
And if we are in control of our breath, then we become in control ( to some extent of course ) of our other Autonomic Nervous System functions.
What happens when we start to be more conscious of our breath ?
Let’s find out.
If we are able to bring our consciousness to the breath in the moment where external stressor appears, then with the deepened breath we can sustain our calm heart rate.
Meaning ? We control our stress response – prevent increase of the blood pressure and avoid stress kicking in and we curve detrimental effects of prolonged stress on the body.
This is just one example of how conscious breath influence the body and how it can regulate body functions.
It is all about balance. Balance between two clue components of the ANS.
Sympathetic Nervous System and Parasympathetic Nervous System. Bare with me.
In the shortest terms possible, SNS is responsible for fight-or-flight response, it is your accelerator. Whereas the PSNS governs the feed-and breed response and works as a break in the vehicle.
Breath is an amazing tool, accessible anytime, free, with no limitations. Using your breath, you can manage your body stress response and allow it to decrease levels of stress hormones induced by overactive SNS.
Overactive SNS is a common occurrence in todays society. Just think of it. Lots of people, when they feel energy decrease during the day, instead of taking a few minutes break to recharge, they choose to have energy drink or other stimulant to keep going.In a situation where one feels a drop in energy , more effective is to have a few minutes wholesome break.
Your body regenerates, as you give it a break from producing stimulating hormones . It also being nourished and rejuvenated by the oxygen you bringing in by deep breathing.
Regular use of stimulants overload the organism with toxins, that are a waste product of increased activity of SNS. That’s the thing with the human body – you can’t continuously override the system without the consequences.
In this case consequence is that body gets addicted to the stress hormones. Also toxins from waste product of said hormones, that are ejected into the bloodstream in the state of high alertness.
If those levels drop, body alerts you with the familiar feelings of lowered energy.
But it doesn’t really have to mean that you are tired. If you tune into this feeling – what do you sense ? Is it tiredness ? If it really is , that means you should rest. Not flood your system with more stress hormones.
But if your self check would reveal, that you don’t really feel tired, you’re just used to get a certain feeling, when your stress hormones level drops to the healthy, low levels and it might feel like lowered energy. Where in fact it is the body displaying signs of withdrawal because it is so used to high levels of stress hormones and waste toxins, that regular healthy levels feel like tiredness.
What can you do to break from this chain of continuous overstimulation of your Autonomic Nervous System.
Breathing techniques, my friend.
Try breathing techniques.
I will share here one technique that will boost your energy in an instant.
Sit comfortably. Close your eyes and breathe naturally.
Put your hands on your knees, palms facing up, and continue to breathe, now in a deepened way.
Deep and slow inhale through your nose, your belly and chest expands.
Slow controlled exhale via mouth, your belly and chest deflates.
Repeat three times, or more if you feel like.
Now let’s get you energized.
You will focus only on your exhale, and you will exhale like you blow a candle – rapidly.
Inhale through the nose, exhale rapidly through the mouth.
Continue like that, you can speed up a little.
We aim to do one inhale and exhale during one second.
While breathing your belly and chest will be energetically going up and down, up and down.
If you would to feel lightheaded or uncomfortable in any way , pause. Resume if you feel like, or you can finish your session.
Finish off by slow and calm 3 deep breaths, then returning to your natural breath.
Slowly open your eyes and relax your hands.
Stand up and shake off.
After a 100 or less of those Fire Breath, ( thats how its called ) you will feel a boost of
clean, brilliant energy.
Long lasting boost of energy, and it won’t wear off after less than an hour, like a coffee would.
That’s it. No complicated tools. Just your breath.
Let me know how you got on with it, if you tried. And feel free to contact me via email in the contact details, if you would like some more tips on breathing and how it can help in your daily life.