Breathing for the Mind and Body

By: Red Hot Mamas

Published: July 13, 2010

April 28 th is World Tai Chi and Qigong Day. Qigong (pronounced chee gung) is an ancient Chinese therapy that means “energy exercise” or “breathing exercise” in Chinese. It combines gentle, physical motions with breathing techniques to achieve substantial health benefits.

Breathing exercises can reduce stress, tension, tiredness, anxiety, nervousness, improve your sleep, boost your immunity and metabolism and may even balance sex hormone levels. But you don’t have to practice Thai Chi or Qugong to reap the benefits of breathing exercises.

Did you know there is a right and wrong way to breathe? The proper way to breathe involves pulling air from the deep part of your abdomen and bases of your lungs. When you’re breathing properly, your chest will stay still and your stomach will rise and fall as you breathe. Here are 5 steps to you can learn maximize the benefits of breathing effectively for your mind and body:

  1. To begin, sit up straight in a comfortable position, on the floor or in a chair and observe your breath. Make sure it is coming from your abdomen and not your chest. Relax your eyes and face.
  2. Get rid of the old, stale winter air by fully exhaling it from your lungs and blood. Release the tension and let the fatigue float out of your body.
  3. Now, slowly and deeply inhale the fresh, new spring air and think about oxygenating your blood, rejuvenating and revitalizing your body.
  4. Briefly pause at the top of your breath and let it all out again as you mindfully exhale the old and inhale the new.
  5. Repeat for ten to twelve breathes.

Take a few minutes a day at home, at the park, the beach, work or anytime you feel your mind wandering to practice breathing. Just being aware of your breath leads to self-awareness. Self-awareness can bring light to prevent and resolve health problems and other challenges. Your body will thank you as you breathe your stress, anxiety and even hot flashes away.