I came across an article from Time Magazine on stress and it started with the following text:
"Take a deep breath. Now exhale slowly. You’re probably not aware of it, but your heart has just slowed down a bit. Not to worry; it will speed up again when you inhale. This regular-irregular beat is a sign of a healthy interaction between heart and head. Each time you exhale, your brain sends a signal down the vagus nerve to slow the cardiac muscle. With each inhale, the signal gets weaker and your heart revs up. Inhale, beat faster. Exhale, beat slower. It’s an ancient rhythm that helps your heart last a lifetime. And it leads to lesson No. 1 in how to manage stress and avoid burnout."
It is important to note that modern medicine has finally acknowledged what the yogis have known for thousands of years, that the breath is intimately connected to the autonomic nervous system and the mind and that it is an invaluable tool to maintain good physical and mental health.
I find it great that more and more of this information is streaming into the public domain supported by the scientific community so that more of us acknowledge and learn to how to use these highly effective and non invasive techniques to help us become Sustainable High Performers and to create overall health and well-being while helping us deal with the demands of current day life.
Conscious diaphragmatic breathing, for example, is extremely relaxing to the autonomic nervous system and deeply calms the mind. This is the most natural and efficient way of breathing and fortunately people can learn to breathe in new ways because the breath is the only involuntary function we also have volitional control over.
By André Hartwich
Performance Coach & Director of Crossmedia