Back to basics
Do you breathe right? Is there anything such as right breathing? Breathwork Facilitator & Mindfulness Practitioner Aminah Sheikh tells us about this single source of life — Breathing
What do you mean by conscious breathing? Breath is something that occurs naturally and we are all told that something that occurs naturally should be left the way it is. Why then add ‘conscious’ to it?
Yes, we have been told that whatever happens naturally is the way it should be. But then, over the years we have been breathing in a distorted manner which has become the ‘new natural breathing’. Try it out yourself — inhale into your diaphragm (allow your belly to rise) and exhale (emptying your belly) and watch the changes in your body, you will know what I mean about wrong breath and right breath.
Why is conscious breathing even necessary?
All our emotional, mental, and physical issues arise because of not breathing right (diaphragm breathing). Almost 70 percent of our toxins are released through our lungs…so if we are not breathing right, we are stocking toxins in our body. That is why being aware of how we breathe is necessary!
In our developmental years as children, we tend to use our breath as an armour — when nervous or anxious or even frightened- we tend to hold our breath. This becomes our ‘normal’ and as we age, all health issues begin cropping up.
Therefore, when we say conscious breathing, we mean be mindful of your breath…right breathing allows one to quieten the mind and expand the lungs to breathe fully. Conscious breathing allows us to balance our nervous system and helps avoid responses coming from panic/fear. So, the breath we hold out of fear or the chest breathing gets rectified and we let go of our exhale. It is also metaphoric to letting go.
So what is the right way of breathing?
I, personally, focus on belly breathing. When one breathes into the diaphragm, the diaphragm moves down to make space for the lungs to expand which appears like the belly is falling out (filling like a balloon) and when one exhales, the diaphragm goes up and the belly in. Just like how a baby’s belly rises and falls. This is how we are meant to breathe.
Is there only one way of breathing right?
There are different breathing techniques. But the goal is the same — Alignment. Also, it is essential to know which technique suits you basis your body/health condition.
Is there a specific everyday routine that figures in conscious breathing?
Breathing isn’t about some routine. It is something that occurs every moment and so the question is — how can you make the most of every inhale in a manner that is conscious, in any given moment. To begin with, it is beneficial to follow a daily practice until breathing right becomes natural to you.
Breathing is fundamental to existence. Why then we are talking about right breathing as adults, and why is this topic not discussed when adults are children?
The western world is talking about it now. But ancient Indian and Asian history has always emphasised on the breath being the tool to connect with spirit (life force). Sufis, Yogis, and Monks always focused on breath to connect with their inner realms, higher consciousness, and of course quieten the mind. This single source of life — Breathing — seems to have lost its significance on the way.