Psychosomatic Medicine is what my old business cards of the 1980’s stated as my profession. It is a great term. ‘Psych’ for mind and ‘soma’ for body. It was the advent of the mind-body revolution in medicine. But without the missing link, it would never go very far.
In those days, people would ask, “do you believe in that mind-body connection stuff? Are they really connected? Everyone says they are.” I would proudly declare myself as a believer in this startling revolution that was building a bridge between physical medicine, physiology, and the gradual acceptance of psychology as a valid science. It was the late 1970’s, but I didn’t need to drink the Kool-Aid for I knew what connected them…the breath.
The science of breath is the missing link in psychiatry, psychology and most self-healing therapies. The movement and flow of the breath links the mind and body together, and the breath can be used to heal and balance them both. Today, there are volumes of research on this science and its endless potentials to help ailments of the body, mind, emotions and intellect. To me, it is the most fascinating and experiential science to explore, and is safe for everyone.
Here are some simple highlights:
- Breathe slowly, smoothly and continuously with your diaphragm and it will stimulate the vagus nerve to trigger a profoundly deep relaxation response. This breathing pattern will lower your blood pressure, improve your sleep, and moderate your blood sugar levels.
- Learn alternate nostril breathing(*), and its regular practice will bring balance to both hemispheres of your brain, give your greater access to the intuition of your conscience and improve your heart rate variability.
- You can learn to coordinate your breath in your meditation practice to gradually curtail the mind’s habit of roaming around and causing untold distractions and distortions in your work day.
- Breathing exercises are “the only practice with the capacity to remove the veil that hides the light. …allowing the luminosity of Pure Consciousness to emerge” writes Pandit Tigunait in his book, The Secret of the Yoga Sutra. For those seeking insight and enlightenment, the science of breath can guide you.
At your next fitness class or yoga session, experiment with your breath and study your own mind-body connection using the science of breath. This topic is vast and without an end, please take some time to learn more.
* You can learn alternate nostril breathing from any qualified yoga instructor, book or web-site. Your search engine will lead the way!