- Image via Wikipedia
At her eightieth birthday party, Sophie Tucker (a.k.a. The Last of the Red Hot Mamas) was asked to reveal her secret of achieving a long life. She replied: “Keep breathing.”
Damn, I was hoping she would say it was a few glasses of red wine every day, but nevertheless, Sophie must have been a yogini at heart because she knew understood the power of pranayama*.
Like most people that work at a computer all day, I have very tight neck and shoulder muscles and frequently experience pain in my lower back. I practice yoga to help relieve my back pain, and I recently started directing my pranayama breathing into my lower back and problem areas during yoga class (primarily during savasana). Since I started this breathing practice I’ve noticed a huge difference. My back has never felt better, and the tightness and pain in my shoulders are diminishing.
So I started to think, is this back pain relief all in my head, or is my directed breathing activity really medicinal?
I did a little research on the phenomenon and got really excited when I read that during meditation, if you allow your mind to focus on a particular part of the body, the blood flow to that body part increases, providing an abundance of oxygen and other nutrients into those cells.
So, it wasn’t all in my head. There really is something to this focused breathing, and it is having a positive impact on my well-being. I’ve been flooding my aching back with natural healing ingredients fueled by the gift of my breath. Plus, this deep breathing also leaves me in a calmer state and reduces my stress levels.
Do you have back aches and pains in your body? Try a little meditation with guided breathing and you never know, you may just add a few more years to your life!
Photo: Jonathan Natiuk (Isn’t that a cool picture? According to Jonathan those are real lungs that were plasticized!)
*Pranayama: Broken down into plain English, pranayama means breath control. Breathing comes natural, but we can control our breath with special methods of inhaling and exhaling to gain physical and mental benefits, and to alleviate stress.