Anna Hunt, Staff Writer
Breathing is one of the body’s fundamental functions, yet most of us give it very little of our attention. We go about our day – taking care of our daily tasks, working, cooking, walking the dog – and unless we over-exert ourselves or choke on a piece of food, we put very little thought towards our breathing. We take it for granted, and, as a result, many of us take short and shallow breaths.
“Short, shallow breathing causes a cascade of negative effects in the body, and the body associates that with the fight-or-flight response. It gins up the adrenaline, the cortisol, the stress chemicals.” ~ Al Lee, co-author (with Don Campbell) of Perfect Breathing
Research shows that even the simple act of breathing fully and slowly can reduce stress and anxiety, improve mental focus, and help with health problems such as high blood pressure. Now what would happen if more people spent time on the mastery of breathing techniques, such as yogic pranayama and qigong exercises? With these practices, you may discover a new tool for better health, as well as for improved control of your emotions and actions.
“These techniques are used by just about anybody in any discipline you can think of — fighter pilots to Olympic athletes, marksmen, special forces, you name it. They would say, ‘This is the most important thing I do.’ ” ~ Al Lee
About the Author
Anna Hunt is writer, yoga instructor, mother of three, and lover of healthy food. She’s the founder of Awareness Junkie, an online community paving the way for better health and personal transformation. She’s also the co-editor at Waking Times, where she writes about optimal health and wellness. Anna spent 6 years in Costa Rica as a teacher of Hatha and therapeutic yoga. She now teaches at Asheville Yoga Center and is pursuing her Yoga Therapy certification. During her free time, you’ll find her on the mat or in the kitchen, creating new kid-friendly superfood recipes.
Disclaimer: This article is not intended to provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Views expressed here do not necessarily reflect those of WakingTimes or its staff.
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