Feature image from THEBERRY
Controlled breathing can cause physiological changes that include lowered blood pressure and heart rate, a reduced levels of stress hormones in the blood, reduced lactic acid build-up in muscle tissue, balanced levels of oxygen and carbon dioxide in the blood, improved immune system functioning, increased physical energy and an increase in feelings of calm and wellbeing.
Breathing as Meditation
Breathing is not a conscious process, it does not need thought and we do not decide to breathe. It moves in cycles, inhalation, exhalation, one action triggers the other.
It is so subtle that it is easily ignored. In fact, it is a blessing that we can ignore it, for it would take most of our thought to remember to keep breathing, without this in tune process. But when you tune into it, and breathe on purpose, with consciousness, it can be the perfect focus for meditation.
The classic image of meditation is a young healthy person seated cross-legged on a mat in a magical environment, arms on their knees, eyes closed and their mind is empty. This is a misconception. Meditation does not need to be about sitting for hours emptying your mind. It can be as simple as focusing on your breath.