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Breath Is Life: How To Breathe Mindfully To Change Your Life.

Breathing is so automatic to the point that you rarely think about it.  It is just something your body and autonomic nervous system take care of.  What if you took the reins and trained your body to breathe differently?  Scroll down for tips & a breath-work video to guide you.

Truth is, this could radically change your life …

  • First your body….

  • Then your mind … 

  • Finally, your soul …

Pranayama (breath-work) practices are one of the 8 limbs of yoga according to Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras - a guidebook on how to reach enlightenment. This 4th limb is a precursor to Dhyana (Meditation) as it can set the stage to prepare you for this important practice. 

“Pranayama is to yoga as the heart is to the human body.” – BKS Iyengar

Ancient yogis speak of being born with a certain number of breaths. That is why they call it prana, your life force energy. In that case, they advise you to be mindful of how you are breathing.  Are you breathing fast and using up all of your available breaths!? Or are you breathing slower, breathing less often, in order to prolong your life? 

Current scientific research discusses the important relationship between oxygen and the role of carbon dioxide ("Breathe," by: James Nestor).  This rocked my world as I grew up understanding that oxygen is good, carbon dioxide was bad!  Truth is they are both necessary and can work beautifully together to enhance your health. 

Blood with more carbon dioxide "C02" (which is acidic) loosens oxygen from the bloodstream to increase oxygen absorption into your tissues.  So, this means that if you train your body to breathe slower and therefore less frequently, you absorb more oxygen as you can obtain the right balance with C02.  With shallow breaths, you purge your body of more C02, as well as releasing most of the oxygen you just breathed in!  Wow. Turns out we need more C02 than we thought!

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Insufficient oxygen means insufficient biological energy that can result in anything from mild fatigue to life-threatening disease.”

So ancient wisdom and current research highlight that the slower you breathe, the more oxygen you take in and therefore the healthier you are. 

Oh la la ~ The Vagus Nerve!

She is so important and I talk about her often!  She is the longest cranial nerve settling in your belly and can be called the gut brain affecting your nervous system.  Repeatedly stimulating this nerve through those deep, long belly breaths allows your body to enter the rest and digest state (parasympathetic mode) resulting in a lower heart rate and lower blood pressure.  In this way, your body can do what it is designed to do naturally, heal. 

As you might be able to surmise by now, when you allow your life force energy to slowly wind its way into your body, you will also experience positive mental health effects on a deeper level.

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Calm body = calmer mind. 

Your breath can help you create a loving bridge, connecting your body and your mind. 

You truly deserve to feel peace, and less anxiety. 

You deserve to breathe into the fullness of life and experience the joy of the journey!

WHEN your thoughts race, 

WHEN your mind starts to overanalyze,

WHEN you start to tell yourself negative stories,

Come back to the loving life force energy in the core of your body. 

Helpful Tips:
  • Try a guided breathing exercise (478 above, or Box/Square below).

  • Set a timer on your phone to remind you to breathe slowly.

  • Breathe through your nose as it filters and treats raw air while triggering important hormones to flood your body.

  • Close your eyes.

  • Sit in nature or listen to calming music.

  • 5.5 seconds inhale and 5.5 seconds exhale was an ideal cycle of breath to increase heart rate variability. 

  • You can use your fingers (tapping your thumb to each finger to keep track of inhales and exhales.

  • You can count in your head to focus (bonus: your mind is concentrating so it is not able to narrate!)

  • Experiment with a pranayama practice that works for you - there isn’t only one way! 

  • Start with 1 minute and increase to what feels comfortable for you!

  • Some examples: box breathing, 4 seconds (inhale) 7 seconds (hold) 8 seconds (exhale), buddha belly breath, breath of fire, alternate nostril, and so much more!

  • Enjoy the rhythm of your breath!

May you come back to love quicker each time with your breath 🫁
J'aime Reiki & Yoga

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