The power of the breath
Taking a breath in through our nose can control our brain signals and lead to improved emotional and memory processing.
Slow, steady breathing activates the calming part of our nervous system, and slows our heart rate, reducing feelings of anxiety and stress.
So while the in-breath specifically alters our cognition, the act of slow, deep breathing, whether the inhalation or exhalation, is beneficial for our nervous system when we wish to be more still.
In fact, mindful or conscious breathing emphasizes not only the breathing component but also the mental component of paying attention and becoming aware of mind, body and breath together.
By observing in a non-judgmental manner, without forcing ourselves to “get to” some special state, we are in fact then able to watch our minds and feel our bodies more clearly. This in turn becomes a path to insight and practice we can keep working on.
Our breath is powerful enough to regulate emotions and help us gain clarity, and to fully do so we must also make the effort to centre our minds to the here and now.
One breath is where it all begins….