Lesson 2: Breathing to Calm the Central Nervous System

Breathing to Calm the Central Nervous System

Breathing is the first step to calming the body’s physical reactions to stress and anxiety. Without proper breathing, the body and mind cannot relax and refocus. Breathing deeply into the abdomen relaxes the body’s response to stress by telling the signals for cortisol and adrenaline production to calm and reduce the amount of each hormone being pumped into the body at a given time. 

In moments of high stress, breathing is the most effective practice we can implement. 

Breathing is the first step in calming both the nervous system and the mind into a position that allows it to relax and refocus. 

Inhaling and Exhaling Through the Nose

Inhaling and exhaling through your nose is a known form of breath work to relax the nervous system. Inhaling and exhaling through the nose are more efficient in supplying oxygen to the body. The nostrils also play their part in filtering the air you breathe, which is helpful in keeping bacteria and particles out of your body. 

Inhaling through the nose and exhaling through the mouth constricts air in the abdominal region. Since this is where most of your nerves are, the above process doesn’t allow the nervous system to fully relax. The same with inhaling and exhaling through your mouth. 

This is where yoga and meditation differ. Yoga uses different breathing techniques depending on the type of response you want to induce in the body. For example, some techniques used in yoga heat up or cool down the body with a breathing shift during a routine.

The styles used in yoga are not wrong, they are different from those in meditation to fully relax the body and bring it into oneness with the mind. While some forms of meditation are used in yoga, they are two separate practices.

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