Breath! Deeply, and Slowly

The Yogis teach that we are all born with a certain number of breaths to take us through our lives…so breathe deeply and slowly.

I remember when I was first introduced to the idea of meditation and relaxation. It seemed so foreign and something I never imagined I would be able to do. I always believed that if I was relaxing I was being lazy. I embraced the idea that being productive and accomplishing goals was the measure of success. Today I have come to realize that I was so wrong.

What I have learned is that when we are frazzled, rushing, trying to get a million things done we are actually not at our best. We all have a zone where our thinking is the most rational and we see things clearly. It falls well below the level of stress. It is good for us to be a little keyed up because it makes us motivated and interested in our tasks but if we get too riled up we leave that zone and our ability to concentrate and reason becomes compromised.

Every system in our body goes on high alert when we are stressed and it exacts a physical toll. We get headaches, stomachaches, have problems sleeping well and suffer from fatigue. Untreated stress can also lead to overeating, low sex drive, irritability and a depressed mood.

The opposite of stress is relaxation. It is the panacea we are all looking for. Relaxation allows your body to return to a state that it is meant to be operating. It counteracts all of the effects that stress is causing.

Deep, slow breathing is the best place to begin when trying to relax. Though our bodies are designed to relax for most of us it is a skill that we need to learn. Have you learned to relax?