Happy Mindfulness Monday where we practice being present even on the most chaotic day of the week. I did a bit of research into breathing this past weekend. I have always known that for maximum relaxation and productivity we should take 6 full deep breaths in the space of a minute. I have never known why this is the case and was interested to find out.
Firstly, I had not tried practicing 6 full breaths in a minute… oh my gosh, it is really hard? I sat with a timer in front of me, and on my first attempt I managed to get down to 9 breaths per minute. The second time I got 7 breaths. Then I used some maths and realised if I breathe in for 5 seconds and out for 5 seconds, then I would make the 6 breaths… but I only managed 6 and a half! I’d love to hear from readers who have tried this so please comment about your experience.
Now, the studies specifically state that optimal breath rate for relaxation and productivity is 4 to 6 breaths per minute (I will have to practice a lot more to get down to 4!). This is a practice known as Coherent Breathing. On average, adults breathe at a rate of 15 breaths per minute, so you are essentially reducing your breathing rate to half with this exercise. This will allow your brain to be in a state of calm alertness, and is linked to an increase in cognitive performance and a decrease in stress.
In ayurveda, the practice of controlling your breath is called “Pranayama”. The word “prana” in Sanskrit means life force, and “ayama” means to extend. Essentially your are extending your life force, and the life force around you, by controlling your breath. The breath inside you is where your energy comes from, so by increasing your breath, you are increasing your energy.
We can use this technique of Coherent Breathing to boost our mood, decrease stress and enhance focus. Do it before a presentation, during a meeting or any time you are feeling stressed or overwhelmed – it only takes one minute!
Have a great day. Lots of light and love x