Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Why is Our Breath so Important for Cancer Recovery?

Breathing for Cancer Recovery - Calm and Relaxation -  Managing Stress, Fear, Pain and Anxiety

By Diana Ross, Guest blogger

“Close your eyes and gradually bring your breath into your mind’s awareness. Experience each inhalation as it draws fresh energy in; feel the exhalation emptying you, carrying away fatigue, stress and unnecessary thoughts. Let your breaths flow softly and smoothly from one into the next without hurrying or pressing between breaths. Now breathe in, and breathe out.” Diana Ross

We hear from time to time the familiar saying “take a deep breath” when we become stressed, anxious or over excited. Ever wonder why? There are many reasons why but most notably taking a full, deep conscious breath has been known to settle us down when we are nervous or upset.

We create this internal calm by consciously tuning in to our breath. The immediate result of tuning into your breath is the ability to obtain control of your emotional state of mind. The positive potential which comes from controlling your breathing results in facilitating recovery from surgery and beyond. This healing ability of breathing consciously works by calming nerves and inviting relaxation. The immune system also benefits from proper breathing cycles. By conscious breathing we bring the mind/body/spirit state into balance and the nervous system runs with maximum efficiency.

Balancing the breath serves to maintain and equalize the complete breath cycle. The goal of conscious breathing is to have both inhalation and exhalation identical in volume and duration thus creating the natural flow of the breath. This natural flow brings the quiet mind with it. Concentration will be higher during this equalized state and invite a meditative mind. A meditative mind cannot happen until the breath is brought under control. You see now how vitally important the breath is in wellness and how it heals.

Habitually we resort to unconscious shallow breathing and therefore do not utilize our true lung capacity when we create uneven inhalations and exhalations. As you begin to focus on your breathing for the health benefits it may reap you may notice that your airflow might be unequal. Do not be concerned. It is a natural phenomenon, and you need not resort to any other method; just continue to practice breathing with awareness. Strive for an equalized airflow through both nostrils. Also in the effects of the new breathing practice may not be felt right away, but after a few sessions the results will become obvious. It is only through practice that we begin to master the conscious breathing practice, so don’t get discouraged. When practicing breathing techniques (pranayama) the mind will become still, and eventually the breath will become even. The energy we normally spend engaging and processing the world around us begins to bend inward and we begin to see with more clarity.

Breathe With Purpose CD
The importance of training the breath becomes a powerful tool in managing stress, fear, and anxiety as well as recovery. A focused breathing technique assists in restoring energy and calming the mind, so we need to breathe with greater awareness. The breath is an amazing vehicle in that it is always present. It is effective at every level of self inquiry and acts in both a preventative as well as a restorative manner. Once we bring an awareness of the breath into the moment, where it is most needed, we can then improve our quality of life. We can enjoy quiet moments of meditation: we can enjoy our be-ing.

We can begin or continue to heal. We can enjoy being present.

Diana Ross, E-RYT500, CYT, Certified KaliRay TriYoga
Founder, Breast Cancer Yoga

Breast Cancer Yoga has a Two Breathing CD series “Breathe with Purpose, and Breathe for Health and Wellness.” It has a series of breaths that are easy to learn. You are guided the entire time, breath by breath. You can purchase them on the website.