Strength of Center Fitness - The fusion of yoga and pilates.
Just Breathe... Take a deep breath!  It's the quickest way to subdue stress, stave off sickness, stay calm and more. 
 
If you're bent on improving your health, you are probably exercising and watching what you eat.  But you would be wise to pay attention to how you breathe, too.  Studies show that mindful breathing can do wonders to increase your well being.
 
Research suggest that deeper and slower inhaling and exhaling can help your body heal faster from illness, lower blood pressure and possibly help increase immunity.  Studies have also shown that deep breathing associated with meditation can stimulate growth of the brain's frontal cortex, which regulates emotion.
If you want to observe the most constructive breathing, look at sleeping babies.  They slowly draw air deep into their lungs, which expands their abdomens; then they exhale smoothly.  As adults, it pays to follow their lead. When we slow down our breathing, we can interrupt and decrease our stress response and engage our minds and bodies in the relaxation response.  Concentrating on our breathing can help anchor us in the present moment, which can be a useful tool to quell worry and increase productivity.
 
Paying attention to the way you breathe doesn't have to be all-consuming.  Take a moment daily to focus on deep breath.  As you inhale, say a positive word to yourself.  When exhaling, imagine breathing out a negative quality.
Taken from a Real Simple article, 11/09, written by Lisa Whitmore.  Next week: Breathing Techniques
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