The Power of Breath
Our HMHB Zen Tots Program has done a great thing for kids of all ages-- it made us compile even more straightforward research to further emphasize the value of the simple practices and approaches that we use in ALL of our programs. "The Power Of" blog series is here to help you and your kids learn more about the amazing power of breath, sound, color, nature, gratitude, and "feeling feelings."
THE POWER OF BREATH:
We all have heard the saying "take a few breaths" to help us calm down, but it's not just a saying, it's a well-researched practice that quickly alters our brain chemistry. Here's what you should know:
1) Deep breathing = full oxygen exchange = more oxygen enters the body and more carbon dioxide exits
2) Controlled breathing (holding our breath for 5 seconds) triggers the stimulation of the vagus nerve, which releases a neurotransmitter called acetylcholine, that catalyzes increased focus, calmness, and decreases feelings of anxiety in our brain and body.
3) Controlled breathing research is now showing deep breathing can even alter the expression of genes, particularly the genes involved in immune function, metabolism, and insulin secretion. This means that controlled breathing helps us stay healthier over our lifetime.
THE POWER OF SOUND
1) Our voice resonates every cell of our body with every sound we make! We use the MA sound in our daily practice and here's why:
- Voicing the MMM sound on our inhalation makes our cranium vibrate, and directly effects the cerebral cortex, and approximates the effect of a dreamless sleep state of consciousness when repeated (Just thinking the MMM is effective as well, because you are connecting to the energy with your consciousness!)
- Voicing the AAAhhh sound on our exhalation has a vibratory effect on the whole physical body, and is a primordial opening sound as we express the sound Ahhh naturally when we feel good about something.
REFERENCES: Dr. Herbert Benson (founder of Harvard Mind/Body Medical Institute), forbes.com/breathing-and-your-brain, soundwellness.com, health.usnews.com