Breathing is good for your health!
You can survive for 30 days without food, 5-6 days without water, and just 2 minutes without oxygen. Oxygen is the most essential nutrient to enter the body.
Yet oxygen intake is something that until I began working with energy, was not given any thought. Breathing was something that just happens. I’m guessing I’m not alone in thinking that.
We unconsciously take short shallow breaths
We breathe in several ways according to our physical and emotional state; for example, we breathe deeply when we laugh, hyperventilate when in a panic, gasp when we cry. However, generally we unconsciously take short shallow breaths that are detrimental to our health as we send a message of ‘stress’ to our nervous system.
How do I know? Because I’ve been there.
If you are an ‘unconscious inhaler’ of oxygen, it is likely you breathe shallowly, and you may be suffering various physical and emotional malfunctions such as sleep deprivation, mood swings, anxieties, digestive problems, and memory loss to name a few.
Scientists have also found that some people who believe they have heart disease are actually suffering the effects of ineffective breathing.
A more trusting relationship with your horse
Efficient breathing creates more energy, less anxiety and fear, improved general health and importantly a more trusting relationship with your horse.
Efficient breathing by you is good for your horse’s health.
Your breath is a function that you can consciously control.
Are any of the following familiar to you?
Always feeling tired – an indication of inefficient shallow breathing.
Tight neck and shoulders – shallow breathing causes the neck muscles, shoulders and back to tighten up as the body tries to create space for the lungs to access more air.
Yawning often – usually triggered by tiredness; however shallow breathing or shortness of breath is often the cause.
Teeth grinding while asleep – shallow breathing is usually associated with teeth grinding; both are stress related.
Have you ever suffered a panic attack? If so, I hope you quickly figured out that taking a deep breath is vital to your wellbeing.
I was conscious of the negative behaviours
I went through a stage of complete overwhelm to the point I felt like I was suffocating, with a horrible wave of sensations continuously moving through my solar plexus and stomach. I think for the first time in my life, I became conscious of how shallow and fast my breathing was, exacerbated by my oncoming panic attack. I was conscious of the negative behaviours playing out before me by the animals in my care; at the time I had no idea they were connected to my erratic breathing.
I focused on my breathing. Overwhelm began to lose its power.
I learned that if I focused on my breathing and imagined it slowing down – which I admit, is not an easy task when in the middle of a meltdown, but well worth the effort – I found that the overwhelm in my mind and body began to lose its power. I also learned that it loosened its hold over the well-being of my animals.
Staying in contact with my breath keeps me informed on the condition of my mental and emotional health; it acts as a gatekeeper to managing stress and anxiety – an extremely rare occurrence for me these days.
Breathing is an art
If you watch a baby breathe, you will notice the stomach rise and fall as the baby breathes correctly from the diaphragm. However, we often lose touch with our efficient way of breathing and often begin to breathe from the chest with a shallow up and down effort.
For maximum inhalation of breath, we must breathe in through our nose until our lungs are fully expanded, then slowly breathe out until the whole breath is excreted.
The following exercise may be carried out while sitting or laying down, or standing depending on the environment you are in and any animals that are with you. It is a powerful exercise to prevent stress and overwhelm if you are stuck in traffic while traveling to work, waiting to enter the competition ring (your horse will love you forever) and frustrations when things don’t go according to plan.
Allow your eyes to soften and relax.
Take a deep breath in from the pit of your stomach without straining. Imagine you are blowing up a balloon so that your stomach expands outwards as you breathe in with a slow count up to 5.
Hold your breath for the count of 3.
Gently exhale until all the air has left the balloon with a slow count of 5.
Repeat 3 times, taking notice of how calm and peaceful you begin to feel.
Health benefits for you and the animals in your care
The more you practice, the easier it becomes along with enhanced physical and emotional health, not only for you but your horse too.
Breathing consciously, silently, slowly, rhythmically and deeply can restore physical, mental and emotional health.
Start to become aware of the effectiveness of your breathing, and resulting health benefits for you and the horses in your care.
There are variations of breathing techniques listed online. Check some out and practice them. For now, the tips here will place you in good stead for the start of the rest of this journey. Oh yes, there’s more. Look out for tomorrow’s relish.
I’m so excited to hear about your regular updates on the new amazing journey ahead of you! I’d love for you to comment below if you enjoyed this blog post. Please also share it if you believe it will help others in your social community.