Yoga practitioners and others have realized the immense physiological and cognitive benefits of breathing techniques for a long time. Science has caught up with this fact and can prove that it actually works. Neurologists and cardiologists not only recognize the benefits but they also now prescribe that when doing these exercises we should breathe through our heart whilst focusing on a positive thought or experience. We know that focused, even and rhythmical breathing (about 5.8 breathes per minute) creates cardiac coherence which gives us a smooth heart beat resulting in clarity of thought. But what some of you may not know is that
“more recently, it was discovered that the heart also secretes oxytocin, commonly referred to as the ‘love’ or bonding hormone. In addition to its functions in childbirth and lactation, recent evidence indicates that this hormone is also involved in cognition, tolerance, adaptation, complex sexual and maternal behaviours, learning social cues and the establishment of enduring pair bonds. Concentrations of oxytocin in the heart were found to be as high as those found in the brain”. Royal College of Psychiatrists
So by focusing on a positive thought or great experience we can extend the physiological and cognitive benefits of breathing by the release of oxytocin as well as dopamine and noradrenaline to name but a few.
This doesn’t mean we become super chilled out and relaxed, but present, focused and sharp as a tack!
Have a look at this post to get some ideas on how to think positively.