Take a deep breath. We offer this advice when someone is overly excited or anxious. We recognize breath as a way to calm mind and emotions. Breath is a powerful tool to promote well-being. It is literally right under our nose. Yet we don’t pay much attention to the breath.

Using breath to enhance well-being is an effective practice. It can be done sitting at a traffic light or in a quiet room. The process can be simple. Breathe in a long, slow and comfortable manner. Relax into each exhale. Deeper breaths come as we breathe slowly. Daily breathing practice is both powerful and healing. Immediate benefits result for body, mind and spirit.

Breath work accelerates healing and supports good health.
Long-term breath work promotes a calmer state of being. It helps lower blood pressure and heart rate. We have less risk of heart disease. We are better able to handle life’s stresses. We can practice breathing often during the day. For example:

Enjoy a worry-free break. Focus awareness on your breath for 10 minutes. Give yourself permission not to worry during this time. You’ll emerge with a more peaceful center.
Take one-minute timeouts. During a hectic day, stop often to breathe, relax and clear your mind. You’ll stay calmer and balance the effects of stress on your body.
Prepare for sleep. Choose a quiet area, sit comfortably, and dim the lights. Breathe slowly and effortlessly for 15 minutes. You’ll enjoy a deeper and more restful sleep.

Breath awareness increases clarity, vitality and well-being. It improves the quality of life.

Breath work centers the mind and balances the emotions.
Breath connects mind and body. It is unique among the body’s functions. Like digestion and heartbeat, breath can happen automatically. It can also be controlled at will. For this reason, we can affect our mind and emotions using the breath. Studies have shown that rapid, shallow breathing creates anxiety, while slow, deep breathing creates relaxation. Think of breathing practice as a pause button in a busy life. Mind and body relax. A balanced center returns. Breath awareness harmonizes the mind’s effect on the body.

Breath work turns attention inward and raises spiritual awareness.
Breath connects us with the essence of our being. For this reason, breath work is a major component of meditation practice. Breathing can be its own form of meditation. Or breathing can prepare us for deep meditation. What matters is that we set aside time each day to connect with our Inner Being.

For breathing meditation, sit with a relaxed and erect posture on the floor or in a chair. Close your eyes and focus on your breath. Breathe, relax and enjoy. Feel the movement of your belly with each breath in and out. When your mind wanders, gently bring it back. Breath is the Universal Life Source flowing within us and around us. Breath awareness aligns us with our Inner Being and with our true Self.

The link between breath, life and the divine appears in both Eastern and Western spiritual texts. Modern science now recognizes the benefits of proper breathing. Learning to use the breath with awareness renews and strengthens body, mind and spirit.

Author's Bio: 

Mary Beth Ford, Ed. D., is the author of Wisdom from the Gardens: Life Lessons and creator of Garden Wisdom Teleseminars. She specializes in the area of life balance, which she describes as balance between outer world and inner Self. In her work Mary Beth shares her five powerful garden lessons for living with balance and joy. Using nature images she gives us a new vision of ourselves and our world. Her desire is to help busy people live with Spirit in the world. To learn more, visit Mary Beth’s website at http://www.wisdomfromthegardens.com and listen to her inspiring reflection on world and Spirit.