By Teresa Carr

Administrative Assistant

Excerpt from healthline.com – How to Practice Conscious Breathing to Reduce Stress and Anxiety by Crystal Hoshaw on January 30, 2022. You may barely think about it, but it’s ever-present. Arguably, it’s one of the most important biological processes: It’s your breath.

Experts say that the average resting adult respirates — or draws breath — about 12 to 20 times per minute. That’s up to 28,800 breaths per day. These breaths are unconscious for many, but it’s possible to harness your breath to become more aware of your body, your state of mind, and the present moment.

What is conscious breathing? Conscious breathing generally describes the act of developing a soft awareness of your breath as it moves in and out of your body. This practice can help you achieve a state of calm and presence so you can engage more deeply with life. Conscious breathing might also help you navigate difficult thoughts, emotions, and experiences, creating the space to respond with intention and objectivity.

In yoga philosophy, the breath serves as both the vehicle and the measuring stick for the practice of awareness. It can guide you to a deeper connection with your body, mind, and the world around you. Traditional yogic wisdom holds that it’s physiologically impossible to be in a state of distress when the breath is smooth, calm, and regulated.

Conscious breathing benefits – The benefits of conscious breathing may sound pretty good, but what does science have to say? Your breath directly affects your nervous system. Slow, deliberate breath activates the parasympathetic nervous system. The parasympathetic nervous system is responsible for the rest and digest function, as opposed to the fight-flight-freeze response.

Research suggests that conscious breathing, often referred to as yogic breathing or pranayama, offers a number of benefits. These include improvements in:

– mood

– sleep

– blood pressure

– respiratory function

– metabolism and digestion

– concentration and focus

– nervous system regulation

– biochemistry, including the reduction of free radicals and blood urea (waste)

The Ohio Department of Development and ABCAP want to remind Ohioans that assistance is available to help with their home energy bills. The Home Energy Assistance Program (HEAP) helps Ohioans at or below 175 percent of the federal poverty guidelines pay their heating bills. Applications for the HEAP program must be received by May 31, 2022.

Just A Thought: “The most powerful tool for healing lies within you — your breath.” ~Deborah Davis, Women’s Qigong for Health & Longevity: A Practical Guide for Women Forty and Older, 2008, deborahdavis.com.

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