Breath is the binding agent, connecting body and mind. Breath is the only function in our body which we can control either consciously or unconsciously. All other functions are either a conscious motive: thinking, moving our limbs, walking, talking or unconscious: digestion, elimination, immune system function, circulation, etc.
Because breath straddles both realms of the conscious and unconscious mind, it can help us bring unconscious material up into the conscious mind. Conversely, you choose to shift your automatic (unconscious) response, simply by placing your attention on your breath.
When you slow down the breath, you shift the body from the Stress Response or the Sympathetic Nervous System (the part of the nervous system which is 'sympathetic' to outside stimuli and tenses up with overstimulation) to the Relaxation Response or Parasympathetic Nervous System (the part of the nervous system that maintains equilibrium amidst stressful stimuli).
The breath and the mind work in tandem.
When you slow down and smooth out the breath - you simultaneously slow down and smooth out the thought forms - creating a more "alpha" state in the mind. The brainwaves literally slow down.
With fresh, oxygenated blood flooding your system, you automatically flush out the stress hormones of adrenaline, cortisol and norepinephrine and stimulate production of neurotransmitters and hormones associated with relaxation: oxytocin and serotonin.
Here's a simple STRESS RELIEF MEDITATION to do anytime, anywhere.
Free yourself up to understand why you are doing what you are doing and challenge yourself to ask what you really want. Let go of inner voices that do not resonate with your authentic truth. Release the self-beat and feeling of "being wrong" because your desires or expectations are different from someone else's.
1. Place your attention on your breath. 2. Slow it down to 4 counts IN. 4 counts OUT. 3. Every INHALE, focus on the word: LET. 4. Every EXHALE, focus on the word: GO. 5. Repeat at least 10 times. 6. Breathe deep, easy + enjoy.
This is my favorite mantra meditation - letting go of the need to control, understand or change anything. Just pure acceptance of WHAT IS.