There are certain influences on breathing that trigger unhealthy breathing, and pain is just one. The breath will register pain with sudden piercing inhalations and fierce exhalations, and the breath stays affected the entire time that the pain persists or until the pain crisis passes. Emotions also trigger enormous changes in breathing; just by witnessing a scary picture, fear will be triggered. Or the breath can become relaxed and take on a completely different point of reference if we see a beautiful sunrise or sunset. Stress too has an affect on the breath. The breath is hard wired into your nervous system and if you become tense, hurried or overwhelmed the stress may linger on well past the event.
Training the breath can help bring these various influences on breathing to conscious place for change. And it makes the breathing a stronger tool to resist the disruption of all these harmful influences: stress, pain, fear and becoming overwhelmed. A trained breath can also help defuse these powerful and disruptive emotional reactions and keep them at bay. Through practice, the breath can become a powerful instrument in managing stress, restoring energy and calming the mind.
Diaphragmatic breathing “belly breathing” will help manage anxiety when levels of stress are difficult to manage. Pain can be a signal for you, and an opportunity to transform the situational influences in a positive way. These influences need to be managed instead of being a crippling. It is here where developing a daily breathing practice can become the foundation of managing upsets. I know that anxiety, stress, fear and any other type of tension will appear here and there. However, there is no reason not to have the tools to manage or decrease their effects and provide you with the ability of feeling in control.
By: Diana Ross, E-RYT 500 Founder, Breast Cancer Yoga