Our world is very complex and comminuted with multiple recurring and often escalating hurdles. We reward high performance athletes hugely, because they demonstrate an extra-ordinary ability to overcome defined obstacles using their minds and bodies. Naturally, we use our minds and bodies to craft solutions that transcend hurdles in order to scale them.
These hindrances may be at work, in our relationships, our community, or even out there in the wilderness of nature. These stumbling blocks can be quite unpredictable and creating timely solutions is a constant challenge. Once entangled, by these problems, we tend to experience pain, dissatisfaction, weakness, stress, anxiety, and related emotions. Loss of mind-body harmony leads to unsatisfactory results in our professions and in our relationships. Thoughtless efforts to gain pleasure expose us to addiction to designer handbags, videogames, sugar-rich foods, gambling, drugs and related addictions.
Disharmony between the mind and the body can affect breathing. Patients who are stressed and anxious tend to breathe faster and shallower. Chronic stress and anxiety induces over activity of the sympathetic nervous system which is responsible for the ‘fight or flight’ response. Chronic stimulation of this system, by our fast pace environment, has numerous deleterious effects on the body.
Fortunately, humans have inherent extra-ordinary abilities that has enabled us dominate the planet. We see these abilities illustrated, daily, by scientists, artists, and athletes. But one part of our body has an exceptional ability that we often take for granted; the ability to control the mind.
Well known for its respiratory function, our lungs can restrain our mind. Breathing is the only autonomic or involuntary activity that can be consciously regulated. This conscious regulation allows us to take control of our mind and body through the breath. When we slow our breaths to about 3-6 breaths a minute, with equal inspiration and expiration, we can in about 10 minutes begin to experience calmness, alertness and well-being. This is the breath-body-mind technique. Experienced practitioners feel a sense of well being or euphoria, much like an inflated balloon.
Coherent breathing, as it is called, allows us to gain control of our minds so they can craft thoughtful solutions that surpass hurdles, repeatedly, whether they are stress, anxiety or related conditions, or addictions.
- 1. Brown PP and Gerbarg PL. The Healing Power of the Breath. Simple Techniques to Reduce Stress and Anxiety, Enhance Concentration, and Balance Your Emotions. 2012. Boston, MA, Shambhala Publications, Inc. http://www.shambhala.com/html/catalog/items/isbn/978-1-59030-902-5.cfm¬¬
- 2. Streeter CC, Gerbarg PL, Saper MD, Ciraulo DA, and Brown RP. Effects of yoga on the autonomic nervous system, gamma-aminobutyric-acid, and allostasis in epilepsy, depression, and Post-traumatic Stress Disorder. Medical Hypotheses. 2012. May;78(5):571-9. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22365651
- 3. Brown RP, Gerbarg PL, Muskin PR. How to Use Herbs, Nutrients and Yoga in Mental Health Care. 2009. New York, Norton. http://books.wwnorton.com/books/detail.aspx?ID=23122