Energy Boosting Tip #1: Full Breathing

    Today we begin with a series of energy boosting tips. You may be aware of some or all of these. You may believe they work or have your doubts. The bottom line is that you can’t know until you test them out and experience the results for yourself.

    Yesterday we talked about how your energy is the result of three factors: genetics, intake, and cultivation—the possibilities you’re born with, what you take in, and how you work with what you take in. You have the power to shape which of your genetic possibilities you realize by what you absorb from the environment and what you do with it.

    Your primary “intake” is air through breathing. Breathing is taken care of beneath your conscious awareness by your nervous system. In other words it happens without your having to pay attention to it. Because of that, you might not give breathing any attention. You may not think of cultivating good breathing. Unless you’re out of breath or having some breathing distress you may feel you have more pressing tasks.

    However, conscious attention to your breathing has many benefits. First and foremost, taking conscious full breaths gives you more oxygen and, hence, more energy.

    If you pay attention to your breathing, you may notice that, when you’re stressed, your breathing becomes rapid, shallow, and/or constricted. If you take a moment in times of stress to stop what you are doing, pay attention to your breathing, and take several slow, deep breaths, you’ll notice that you can quickly change your state to be more relaxed, centered, focused and energized.

    A full breath is initiated by your diaphragm, which is a dome-shaped layer of muscle at the base of your ribs between your heart and lungs on top and your digestive organs below. When you take a full breath, your diaphragm flattens downward pressing on your lower digestive organs.

    Because of that, a full breath feels as if you are filling up your lower abdomen first, then the base of your ribs and finally all the way up to your collarbones. When you exhale, the whole space of your torso feels as if it empties from top to bottom.

    Take a few full deep breaths now and test it out. You might place one hand on your abdomen and one on your chest. As you inhale, feel as if your whole torso fills with your breath from bottom to top. Pause briefly at the point of full inhalation and, then, slowly exhale, emptying your torso from top to bottom.

    When you get in the habit of breathing fully you’ll get more oxygen in your bloodstream and feel more energy. You can also use deep breathing as a tool to come down out of stress mode into conscious, centered, relaxed focus in the present moment.

    Until next time,
    Happy breathing,

    Kevin Schoeninger

    P.S. Learn more about conscious breathing practice in “The Secrets of Meditation.”

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