Breathe With The Mindful Bride

Breath is a vital life-force that has an intricate relationship with all other layers and aspects of the mind and body. It has the power to help heal and calm.

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This week, The Mindful Bride shares how the breath is a potentially useful ally when you are preparing for what may be one of the biggest events of your life.

The breath is something most of us take for granted. Until it’s in jeopardy. Statistics vary widely, but on average, humans can live around 1 to 2 months without food and around 3 to 7 days without water. Without the breath we can can only survive a few minutes.

The body cells need oxygen in order to produce energy, but the act of breathing is not only about what the body needs. It’s also about what we need to get rid of, and that’s Carbon Dioxide. Too much carbon dioxide in the body and the blood becomes acidic. This, in turn, can lead to decreased immunity as the body struggles to process excess waste in the bloodstream. From this scientific point of view, the breath is crucial to our very existence. But how does the breath relate to the more intangible aspects of our life? 

If you’ve ever been to a yoga class you may have experienced the practice of Pranayama. Prana, as translated from the Sanskrit language means life force or vitality. Ayama means length, expansion, stretching or restraint. Pranayama therefore connotes the extension of the breath and its control. [1] Or, as renowned yogi and teacher T.K.V. Desikachar describes: ‘Pranayama is conscious breathing’. [2] Pranayama has shown to have many positive effects on health in general with benefits including a decrease in blood pressure, increase in energy levels and a reduction in anxiety.

Recovering the essential nature of the breath is a rich and rewarding process for it is ourselves that we uncover.

- Donna Farhi

However, before we impose any ‘control’ or actions upon the breath, one of the fundamental approaches The Mindful Bride works with is the intimate relationship to your own original breath. Donna Farhi, author of The Breathing Book, calls this the ‘essential breath’ and advocates that ‘Breathing is the most readily available resource you have for creating and sustaining your vital energy’. [3]

In concordance with this, reestablishing the relationship to your natural, unconditioned breath is one of five integrated facets within programs The Mindful Bride offers. Often combined with restorative yoga or meditation practices, breath work serves as a bridge between the physical and intangible realms of the body. The activities of the mind influence the breath, so too the breath can influence our state of mind. Connecting to and maintaining focus on the essential breath can have a profoundly calming effect on a mind that is overwhelmed with busyness and the stress that goes alongside that territory.

Because the breath has a direct relationship with the state of your mind, it also plays an important role in facilitating the brain-gut-skin relationship. The interaction between the mind and the skin (Psychodermatology) is a field of research that many enterologists and dermatologists are now paying attention to as more and more studies are beginning to join the dots between mental health, gut health and skin health.

So… for glowing skin as an external expression of balance within your body, take a moment to breathe fully.

REFERENCES

[1] Iyengar, B 2001, Light on Yoga. London: Thorsons, p.22.

[2] Desikachar, T 1995, The Heart of Yoga. Rochester, Vt. Inner Traditions International. p.59.

[3] Farhi, D 1996, The Breathing Book. New York: Henry Holt, p.5.

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