Breathe Better, Be Better

Carol Segal yoga teacher in Howick KZN

Depression, stress, and lethargy are literally breathed out when you practice conscious breathing. Current research reveals the effectiveness of regulating breath as a tool to balance your body. Breathwork is self-soothing as well as helpful in boosting energy and clearing the mind.

I am a breathing coach who facilitates private breathing consultations. Clients struggling with physical, psychological, and emotional obstacles have found subtle breathing techniques to be advantageous. Breathing allows you to feel whole and connected again – it is a pathway to inner peace.

I recently attended a business networking meeting and when asked, “what do you do?” I replied – “I teach people to breathe.” What?

That’s what I do.  I teach you to breathe better so you can feel better.  Recognizing poor breathing habits, assists in developing valuable lifestyle habits. My brand slogan Breathe Better Be better suggests that when you breathe better you automatically begin to feel better. The doorways to a healthy happy life are the nostrils. The human body is perfectly designed to maintain a calm stable physical condition. Just breath.  Breath awareness can have a significant and lasting effect on many aspects of your physical and mental wellbeing.

The answer to wellness is literally under your nose.

The air around us contains about 21% oxygen. We inhale oxygen to provide the body with energy.  Every single cell in the body needs an adequate amount of oxygen to transform nutrients from the digestive process into energy. This energy is what gives us life and supports all the other systems in the body. Oxygen supports life-giving processes and boosts immunity. When you increase the amount of oxygen in every cell you increase the levels of energy in every action.  The breath is our primary source of energy and feel-good chemicals. Participating in conscious breathing provides you with optimal oxygen to live  on a full tank of fuel.  My clients have found that by developing sensitivity to their breath, upping their breath capacity, and recreating a natural breath pattern they begin to feel more robust and alive.  Scientifically it makes sense that breath has a direct impact on our physical health – but what about our emotional state?

Breathing patterns act as an accurate emotional barometer.

Source: Getty Images

Basic breath control has an immediate and significant effect on how we feel.  When you breathe with awareness you activate your diaphragm, home to the solar plexus – our emotional center. This area just above the navel and directly below the diaphragm holds a nest of nerves. Many people store unprocessed emotions in this area of their body. I have found that some clients are unable to access any movement of the diaphragm as they have been breathing shallowly for so many years. Just as plants wilt without enough oxygen and water – so do you.  Humans droop or wither simply because they are not absorbing life force from their surroundings.  This source of vitality is free and readily available. Just take a deep breath. Many psychotherapists recognize that optimal breathing plays a vital role in emotional stability.

Human respiration is directly linked to human emotion.

I have seen life and joy radiate from the center of a client’s being when I ask them to practice a basic breathing exercise.  Our breathing patterns change according to the emotions we are feeling. When you cultivate an awareness of how you breathe you can, control anxiety, experience self-compassion, alleviate depression and heighten your optimism quotient. The depth, speed, and quality of respiration impacts emotional wellness. I have found that encouraging clients to practice breath exercises in nature helps with symptoms of sadness and depression.

Do you huff and puff because you are angry?
Do you breathe rapidly and in short bursts when excited?
When you feel depressed do you struggle to breathe?
If you are anxious, do you feel as if you can hardly breathe?

If our breath affects our physical and emotional wellbeing what about our spiritual wellbeing?  Since the beginning of time, the breath has been revered as sacred. The Latin word for breath is “Inspirare”– to inspire is to take in or to breathe.  Inspire also translates as:

  • Breathe or put life or spirit into a human.
  • Essential to sustaining life.
  • Immediate influence of a God

Your first wailing breath marked entry into this planet and your last gasp of breath will mark exit from the planet.

Breath brings spiritual insights and is our vital unifying link.

Inspiration = creation

Expiration = death

Breathwork has been used by a variety of traditions to access altered states of being.  For thousands of years ancient traditions have explored the mysticism and path of breath to journey into the subconscious. Breath is the portal to encounter the wonder and authenticity of our inner world.  Shamanic breath practices require a qualified guide to facilitate rites of passage which allow you to enter an altered state.

I am not qualified to facilitate this type of breathwork and counsel my clients to proceed with caution should they want to explore shamanic breathwork. But there is no harm in moment-to-moment awareness of the breath.

You are given approximately 22,000 breaths a day. Every breath is a prayer.

Breathing is an art of ancient beauty – the gift we have all been given to connect and come into union with Spirit. 

Through conscious breathing I have experienced peace, tranquility, and a deeper sense of connection to myself. When travelling in India I was fortunate to have multiple opportunities to sit on Noble Silence retreats. Sit and watch the breath. Prolonged periods of sensing breath allow me to feel more connected, alert, and focused.  The ethereal and subtle presence of breath is there to remind us that our very existence depends on how we breathe. Life is not merely dust to dust; life is also air to air.  Our very source of power and radiance is breath.  When we learn to breathe better, we increase our respect for the elements. Air, water, earth, and light allow us to sustain life and when we engage in these our dimension of living is amplified. We step into an illuminated way of being.

Breath is life.

If you are convinced that breath is the medicine for feeling better, then you are probably asking the question – how does it work? It’s easy, inhale through the nostrils – slowly, exhale through the nostrils – slowly.  When the breath changes the heart rate is slowed down, the rest and digest nervous system is triggered. We automatically think clearly, slow down and bring the body into a state of balance and harmony.

Let me assist you in breathing better so you can be better. Contact me for a private breathwork consultation.

Making your exhalation longer than your inhalation is an excellent all round breath healing tool.  

Out breath is where alchemy happens. Try it now, breathe out slowly and then breathe out some more