We all know how to breathe, it’s the very first thing we ever do. It comes ever so easily and is one of the most natural things in the world, but there are benefits to controlling your breath. To yogi’s it’s called breathwork, but it is one of the most ancient practices there is. In fact, pranayama, or controlled breathing exercises, has been mentioned in texts as old as the Bhagavad Gita, which dates back to the second century BCE. Recently, science has been catching up with the ancient texts and providing evidence for the effectiveness of these techniques. In this article, we’ll take you through 3 of the benefits of breath practice and then share one of our favourite meditation techniques with you!
Lowers your blood pressure
Blood pressure is a key indicator of our overall health. It shows how hard your heart is working to pump blood through your veins. One study found that breathing at a resonance frequency, with only 6 breaths per minute, helped to improve the health of the heart by decreasing blood pressure (1). Breathing deeply and controlling the breath helps to reduce stress, which overall, reduces blood pressure and helps to keep your heart healthy.
Reduces stress and anxiety
Breathing deeply has been proven to have an effect on stress and anxiety with it decreasing the impact that it has on the body. Studies found that it has a similar effect to more active types of treatment like drugs, exercise, and other behavioral therapies (2). They found that it caused “reductions of multiple negative dimensions of psychological stress,”(2). In fact, one study done by researchers at Harvard University scanned the brain while meditating and found that there were significant changes in the physical state of the brain over the course of two months (3). So by breathing deeply, we are able to calm the body and the mind, thus reducing our stress levels.
Another benefit of reducing stress is that it can help you sleep better. Sleep is one of the key aspects of our health, so of course we want to do everything in our power to help us sleep better. One study found that, “mindfulness meditation appears to be a viable treatment option for adults with chronic insomnia and could provide an alternative to traditional treatments for insomnia (5).” Mindfulness meditation is a helpful way to improve your sleep and your overall health.
Now that you know a few of the benefits of meditation, try out one of our favorite quick ones below!