About two weeks ago, my mom was having health problems, and I had to call 911. It’s been about ten years since I called 911. I was a little shaken because my mom couldn’t walk. As I talked to the 911 operator, she told me, “Take some deep breaths.” I did as she asked and I felt much better afterwards. I just needed to hear those words: take some deep breaths.
In this emergency situation, my deep breathing was different than I expected. I inhaled into my nostrils and exhaled out my mouth. I remember puckering my lips as I exhaled – like blowing out candles. After breathing deeply, I was able to gain composure and continue with the call.
Deep breathing increases oxygen to the whole body. It is best to use the respiratory system to its fullest; especially in stressful situations. Deep breathing relaxes the body and mind.
Here is a breathing technique to help you reduce your stress and anxiety:
Deep Nostril Breathing and Mouth Exhalation Technique (taken from “Science of Breath: A Complete Manual of the Oriental Breathing Philosophy of Physical, Mental, Psychic and Spiritual Development,” by Yogi Ramacharaka):
- First focus on listening to your breathing (breath going in and out of your lungs).
- Once you have listened to your breathing for a few breath cycles, you should begin to scan your body to identify where tension and anxiety exist.
- Once you have identified tension and anxiety in a particular area and you are mindful of it, take a deep nostril breath, hold, and then exhale the breath through your mouth.
- Repeat this process several times until you are mindful of a reduction in tension in that area. Then shift your attention to other parts of the body where tension/anxiety exist and repeat the procedure.
I hope I will never have to call 911 again. But if I do, then I will remember to “take some deep breaths.” I know that increasing oxygen in my body will help me face the challenge before me.
May you go forward in peace.
Your breath touched my soul and I saw beyond all limits. —Rumi