Stop for a sec and listen to your breathing. Is it deep? Slow? Shallow? The fascinating things you can learn from listening to your breath...
Yoga lovers know well the importance of deep breathing. But you can focus on breath off the mat, too. Here's what you can learn by paying attention to your breathing from Yoga Journal's Erica Rodefer:
Shallow, chest breathing: This is the universal sign of stress, says Rodefer. "When I notice myself doing it, I know I need to take a deep breath and really access the situation and put it into perspective."
Held breath: "When I’m holding my breath I’m usually trying too hard at something—sometimes it’s a yoga pose, sometimes I’m thinking a little too hard on the word I’m going to play next on Words with Friends," she writes. Either way, she says she knows this means she needs to relax a bit--pronto.
More exhale than inhale: This is my frequent breathing pitfal, and Rodfer has a fascinating explanation for it: "When my exhale is longer than my inhale, there’s a good chance that I’m feeling defeated or depressed," she writes. "Finding more equilibrium and consciously extending my inhalation gives me more energy."
Balanced breathing: "On those occasions when I’m feeling calm, controlled, focused, and just plain happy my inhales and exhales will be the same length and go deeper into my diaphragm," she writes. "It’s kind of astonishing how infrequently I notice this type of breathing--usually just during Savasana, my morning meditation, or before I drift off to sleep."