Breathing shallowly is a life-saving autonomic nervous system response to stress. But the stresses of contemporary life can keep our bodies in a chronic state of emergency, with a chronic pattern of shallow breathing. This "stress breath" disturbs the oxygen/CO2 balance in our bodies. A vicious circle is established: anxiety leads to rapid breathing, while the body's consequent biochemical imbalance triggers alarm. The heart has to work harder to move less-oxygenated blood around the body.
Four Conscious Breaths
Following are the four kinds of
breaths that I can count on to provide delicious, body-and
consciousness-altering experiences on a regular basis.
of the following breaths for five to ten minutes a time, with the
exception of the Breath of Fire, which you should only practice for a
minute or two at a time. While you practice, keep in mind these general