The navel point is said to be the point where 72,000 nerve endings come together.
When we have an instinctual feeling that somthing isn’t right, it tends to hit us right around our navel point. Or when we are deeply hurt, we feel like we have been punched in the gut. Or if we get nervous before a performance, talk, meeting or even social situations we can feel like our stomach is twisted in knots. Yup, the gut actually tightens and spams creating an anxious feeling in the stomach.
When something emotional hits us right in the navel point, those sensory nerves begin the process of digesting our emotions.
If we panic and start to breathe rapidly or shallow then the breathe gets stuck in the chest, creating more stress. This perpetuates a slow and uncomfortable digestion of our emotional state. Most people learn to breath backwards: inhaling by pulling the belly in constricting the space for the breathe. If you notice yourself breathing into your chest instead of your belly, this is a sign of stress response breathing.
Deep abdominal breathing can help you shift this by creating more space for the emotions to move through your body therefore activating a healthy process of emotional digestion.
The breath is a tool that helps us manage our range of emotions influencing our mood and brings us into our center. We don't react so quickly when we use the breath to cushion the blow of life's disappointments. In yoga the breath is used to activate the parasympathic nervous system, which is the rest and digest controller of the body. This brings us into a more relaxed state of being and helps us digest our surroundings.
According to Kundalini Master Yhogi Bhagan deep abdominal breathing:
▽ Creates calm due to influence on parasympathetic nervous system
▽ Stimulates the brain chemicals endorphins - that help fight depression
▽ Pumps cerebral spinal fluid to the brain, giving greater energy
▽ Aids in speeding up emotional and physical healing
▽ Re-channels previous mental conditioning on pain so as to reduce or eliminate pain
▽ Gives the capacity to manage negative emotions & supports clarity, cool headedness & patience
▽ Activates and clears the nerve channels
▽ Aids in breaking subconscious habit patterns such as insecurities & fears
▽ Regulates the body’s pH, which affects the ability to handle a stressful situation
▽ Aids in releasing blockages in meridian energy flow
Try deep abdominal breathing by:
1. Placing the left hand on the belly and the right hand on the chest
2. Let your breath regulate
3. Bring your attention to your navel point
4. Take a slow deep breath by letting the belly relax and expand with air
5. As you exhale gently pull the navel up and in toward the spine
6. As you inhale, raise the hand on the navel towards the ceiling
7. On the exhale lower it steadily
You can tell if you are doing it right if your long deep breaths are filling the abdomen, then expanding the chest and finally lifting the ribs. The exhale is reverse with the abdomen pulling up and in at the end of the breath.
Do you have any favorite breathing techniques? Please share in the comments below.
Writer: Callie Maggiori
Resources: The Aquarian Teacher, Yogi Bhajan