Stop for a moment and notice how you’re breathing. Is it shallow? Perhaps barely detectable, as you sit at your desk, thinking about work projects and the gazillion other things that comprise your life?
OK. Now, breathe along with this image for, oh say, 10 rounds.
Readyyy ... GO!
Notice a difference at all? Well, let’s run through all the good things that might have taken place just now:
there's less stress and anxiety in your body.
You know that feeling of your heart pounding in your chest when you are stressed or emotional? Deep breathing lowers your heart rate, which induces a whole series of stress-lowering reactions inside your body.
you're a sharper thinker.
Studies have proven that yogic breathing, such as nadi shodhana, can increase cognitive performance - so much so that even medical schools now teach deep breathing to improve students' memory recall and test scores.
your immune system is stronger.
Researchers who studied the effects of deep breathing on the immune system found significantly higher levels of natural killer cells (the type of immune cells that fight cancer), in their test group of deep breathers. Bonus for those trying to quit: decreased cravings for nicotine.
your blood pressure has dropped.
And your hardworking heart is ever so thankful. According to this study from the Journal of Complementary Medicine Therapies, “...even a single session of mental relaxation or slow breathing can result in a temporary fall in blood pressure.” Practicing deep breathing every day could make that temporary change a permanent one!