I recently read an interesting and somewhat silly article on the connection between deep belly breathing and fat retention. Basically since most of us are oxygen deprived due to either stress, which causes us to take in shallow breaths, and/or the phenomenon of keeping our tummy’s sucked in, (ironically in an attempt not to appear fat), that we are disrupting our body’s ability to metabolize food properly since oxygen is needed to convert food and fat to usable energy. The article said that by changing our breathing patterns the fat will just “fall off,” that was the silly part.
Well I can’t guarantee that the fat will “fly” by taking a few extra deep breaths per day, but I can almost guarantee that you’re stress level will decrease and your outlook will improve immensely. Thinking mind can only be in one place at a time, so when your mind is elsewhere you’re not present, and when you’re not present you create pockets of space in the body-mind for stress and anxiety to take hold. So when you realize that you are lost in thought take a deep breath into your body. Notice if your jaw and neck is tense, notice if you are slouching or if your fist is clenched. Take a second deep breath and place your attention back into the body, loosen-up these places of tension by moving the jaw around, rolling the shoulders up to the ears, or raising your arms above your head and taking a nice deep stretch.
By breathing with awareness you have just stopped the mind and brought it back from its journey to nowhere. You can take this practice even further by taking one or two deep breaths when you are in the car complaining about the traffic, or when you’re speaking with someone or about someone and your tone is critical or even when you feel the sudden need to defend yourself.
Stop and take a deep breath. Create the space, joy and freedom you’ve been craving right now. Just breathe.
Photo Credit: Irene Dávila