The Power of Slow, Relaxed, Gentle Breathing

We know it is necessary to breathe but do not always appreciate how important it is to breathe well.

In all types of meditation, energy practices, and in martial arts, breathing is the primary focus. The reason is that 80 percent of the energy we get for any activity is through our breathing, only 20 percent comes from diet and sunlight.

Breathing well is not only significant for accomplishing our tasks, whether work or play, but it is also vital for physical health, mental and emotional calm, and for acquiring a sense of inner peace.

The Power of Slow, Relaxed, Gentle Breathing

If you suffer from anxiety you may sometimes tire of hearing people recommend breathing slowly, calmly, or deeply to reduce symptoms. However, working with the breath is arguably the number one way to manage anxiety. It is at least in the top three. The benefits of slow, relaxed breathing for our overall well being are numerous.

Things to consider:

  • Cats and dogs breathe about 25 to 27 times each minute and live 10 to 16 years (average). Sea turtles, known to live a century or more, breathe three to five times per minute. The average person breathes 15 to 20 times every 60 seconds. Research has shown that when people slow their rate of breathing to 10 or 12 breaths per minute, it reduces the body’s level of stress and can lower blood pressure.
  • When we breathe 15 times per minute, only 60 percent of the air in our lungs is changed or exchanged. When our breathing is slower and relaxed, 100 percent of the air in our lungs is changed, supplying our body with more oxygen for activities.
  • Breathing deeply and slowly energizes our nervous system. It sounds as if this would make us more nervous, but the opposite is true. When our nervous system is oxygenated it can effectively send signals at the right time to the parts of the body that require its message. There is much activity in the body that needs coordinating so an efficient communication system is necessary for tranquility, and for robust health.

Super Simple and Enjoyable Breathing Exercise

The exercise has three steps:


  • First, put a smile on your amazing face.
  • Second, breathe slowly and in a relaxed manner (your stomach should pooch-out a bit when you inhale).
  • Third, continue the gentle, smile-enhanced breathing.

To increase the effectiveness of this exercise, imagine something beautiful as you breathe.

The smile you wear tells your body to get busy manufacturing endorphins, those endearing hormones that help us feel good. Our body’s tissue and muscles respond to endorphins by relaxing, allowing cells to take in more oxygen. More oxygen means better energy and calmer nerves.

Source: Master Chunyi Lin, Spring Forest Qigong, Learning Strategies
Photo by Honey Kochphon Onshawee from Pixabay

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