As a yoga teacher, breathwork and meditation coach I'll often ask my students if they meditate and typically the answer is "yes." But when I ask them how often they can get into a deep meditative state the answer is "rarely."
Meditation, in a way, is a paradox. It is a process of using the mind to still the mind. Maybe this worked hundreds of years ago when most people who meditated lived secluded in high mountains or in caves, but in today's information age not only do we need it more than ever, it is also harder than ever to achieve.
Because of our enslavement to the digital world our monkey mind's are more active than ever before. This has resulted in a global epidemic of mental "dis-ease" seen in a variety of conditions like stress, anxiety, depression, trauma and even physical illness. Time and time again meditation has proven to work, but how can we receive it's benefits in a more simple and effective way?
"When you arise in the morning, think of what a precious privilege it is to be alive - to breathe, to think, to enjoy, to love." - Marcus Aurelius
Breathwork meditation is an alternative to traditional meditation that can provide anyone who can breathe easy access to the exponential benefits of meditation; this includes addressing the harmful effects of stress, anxiety, depression, trauma and even physical illness.
When we consciously use our breath for mental health we are also benefiting our physical health as well. This is why the yogi's called conscious breathing "pranayama," which basically translates to life-force energy control. Pranayama doesn't just reduce stress, it drastically improves every factor that plays into health, happiness and well being.
“Pranayama is at once a physical-health practice, mental-health practice, and meditation. It is not just breath training; it’s mind training that uses the breath as a vehicle,” says Roger Cole, PhD, an Iyengar Yoga teacher and physiology researcher in Del Mar, California. “Pranayama makes your entire life better.” Source
Since our respiratory system is the only part of our autonomic nervous system that we can control (the significance of this statement cannot be overemphasized,) it gives us the perfect gateway to change how we think, feel and live. Through specific breathwork practices we can activate our parasympathetic nervous system, create a sense of inner calm, and bring our brain into the same brainwave states we see in the deepest levels of meditation.
Through breathwork we can reverse engineer the harmful effects of stress, not only on an emotional and mental level, but on a physical level as well. This means that over time breathwork meditation can improve everything from physical health, mental disorders, sleep disorders, and drastically improve our overall well-being.
With breathwork meditation we can address symptoms of past trauma. In fact, breathwork is so effective in addressing PTSD it is supported by the Department of Defense and Veterans affairs.
The key to addressing trauma lies in the vagus nerve, which is the largest nerve in our entire body and reaches every major organ, connecting our respiratory, digestive, and nervous systems. It is probably the most important physiological property of our body in terms of our health and well-being and very few people talk about it. It acts as the bridge between our Autonomic Nervous System and our Central Nervous System, sending messages between the body and the brain, which helps regulate heart rate, blood pressure, neurological processes, mood, emotions, and feelings. These factors can be measured by our Vagal Tone.
Vagal Tone is basically a measurement of how easily we feel inner calm after we experience stress, anxiety, or a traumatic event. It represents the symbiotic relationship between the Sympathetic Nervous System (stress) and the Parasympathetic Nervous System (rest.) If we are stressed and do not address it through establishing inner calm, this creates cell deterioration, physical pain and a plethora of other health problems. On the contrary, when we deal with stress we build resilience to it and reverses the harmful effects once done.
If our Vagal Tone is high we find calm in a stressful or traumatic situation more naturally. The higher our Vagal Tone the better we feel, the more relaxed life becomes, and the greater we experience sensations like bliss, joy, ecstasy and love. If our Vagal Tone is low then we are far more susceptible to the ill effects of stress and the long-term effects of trauma. We feel dull, may suffer from depression and life feels out of balance. By focusing on raising Vagal Tone we are reverse-engineering the harmful effects of trauma and stress and making ourselves more resilient to life's challenges.
Breathwork meditation can raise Vagal Tone through strengthening our ability to handle and overcome stress. The path is two-fold: 1) We want to manage stress as stress arises and we can easily do this through conscious breathing, 2) A daily dedication to breathwork meditation can, over time, reverse the negative effects of stress, anxiety, and trauma and bring more inner peace, balance and well-being into our lives.
It is important to know that different breathwork practices can result in different affects on our physical, mental and emotional states. There are literally hundreds of different practices for specific needs, and some aren't necessarily designed to bring us into an immediate state of calm and relaxation. Take for instance the Wim Hof method, one of the most popular practice out there. This practice is designed to activate stress in order to reduce stress long term; like fighting fire with fire. It is a very intense practice, and for someone who is new to breathwork it can cause an immediate increased in stress and anxiety and seem counter productive.
This is why it is important to hire a breathwork coach or skilled teacher to develop a daily practice that is right for you.
Vagal Toning Breathwork® was specifically designed to raise Vagal Tone and bring you the various benefits of breathwork meditation in a single practice in a safe and effective way. It takes as little as 12 minutes, will make you feel awesome, and practiced daily can reverse engineer the harmful effects of stress and dis-ease. This breathwork is designed to be balanced in order to fit anyone's needs.
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