The Science of Breathing
We learn theory behind breathing in school and biology, However the body & mind connection is something often missing, there’s more going on to each breath than we realise.
Not only does breathing keep us alive, repeated deep breaths will bring your heart rate down and naturally reduce high blood pressure. Deeper breaths (for example during exercise) releases Dopamine, Serotonin, Oxytocin, and Endorphins which are chemicals that have a natural calming effect and responsible for your happiness. These hormones can aid mental health issues such as anxiety, fear or depression.
In yoga there is a term called Belly breathing. It involves inhaling slowly and deeply through the nose, causing the lungs to fill with air as the belly expands. This will help support the spine and and gently massages the organs to relieve compression. Continuing practicing belly breathing is grounding and gives feeling of safety and comfort. If you add a slow controlled breath it is proven to increase your memory and aiding Alzheimer's and dementia.
The breath also stimulate our nervous systems in our bodies; sympathetic (fight or flight) and parasympathetic (rest & digest). These systems receive feedback from the Vegus nerve, which is the biggest nerve in our bodies; running from the brain stem down the spine and is connected to every major organ, hormonal gland, gut and reproductive organs. With Slow breaths we can stimulate the Vagus nerve so it sends calming signals to the parasympathetic nervous stem to increase digestion, fertility and wellbeing.
Keep on breathing,