How Important is the Breath for those of us fighting, surviving, or wishing to thrive after Breast Cancer?
The answer to “How Important is the Breath?” is quite obvious. However, how many times do we consciously think about all the benefits of our breath? Literally, if our breath is taken away from us, we would cease to exist. Well I want to share two easy to learn breathing techniques. Understanding the breath’s impact on our body physically and our mind emotionally will enable us to experiencing breathing with a new gratitude. The breath is what sustains us and contributes to our well being. I have included Natural Breath.
Natural Breath is great for reducing stress, relieving anxiety and promoting relaxation. It helps control the overwhelming stressors associated with cancer treatments. Natural Breath is also a great breath for lymphedema management. This diaphragmatic or belly breathing helps stimulate and circulate lymph flow from the immune system, which reduces swelling and discomfort. Lymphatic fluid is moved through physical activity and through breathing correctly. We suggest integrateing Natural Breath into your everyday life. Natural Breath has one of the most calming effects of all the breaths.
These are some of the benefits of Natural Breath.
Reduces stress and tension, Promotes diaphragmatic breathing, Supports expansion and relaxation of thoracic cavity, Reduces lumbar spasm and pain, Massages digestive organs and increases peristalsis, Relieves constipation, Stimulates flow of bile, Increases venous return and lymphatic drainage, Turns off sympathetic “fight or flight autonomic response”
- INHALE, draw breath in through the nostrils, down deep into lower lungs; lower lungs expand and belly extends out.
- EXHALE, release air from lower lungs through the nostrils.
- Let there be a natural pause of transition before you inhale again.
- Continue to lengthen and balance natural breath for up to five minutes.
- Then begin to lengthen exhale; moving the breath into a 1 to 2 ratio.
Start a Breathing Practice with these tips.
- Start with 5 or 10 minutes per day, and gradually increase up to one hour.
- Never force the breath, instead allow the natural flow of the breath in and out.
- Cultivate a slow and even breathing pattern.
- Once in the practice, begin to lengthen the inhalation and exhalation, allowing for a small pause or “holding” of the breath at the top of an inhalation and/or at base of an exhalation.
- Find a place that is quiet and airy; a place where nothing can distract you.
- Wear comfortable, loose clothing.
- Find a time of the day where you can establish a rhythm or routine and then try to stick with it. This will build a strong discipline.
- Your mouth should be clean and fresh with the stomach empty.
Take some time for yourself to heal by learning these two simple yet profound breaths. Remember the breath is the cosmic gas station so fill up. Namaste’
Diana Ross, ERYT, CYT Founder of Breast Cancer Yoga
Try “Breathe With Purpose” Beginner Breathing Exercises CD For Breast Cancer and “Breathe For Health & Recovery” Intermediate Breathing Exercises CD For Breast Cancer.