Some time ago, I remember listening to a comedian make fun of women who get those little “breathe” tattoos on the inside of their wrist. As if we really needed to remind ourselves to fucking breathe, right? Are we really that stupid?
Actually…we aren’t…and a little reminder to breathe – THE RIGHT WAY – isn’t a bad thing.
The heart of sensuality for me is touch, and that means body awareness. Taking a moment to check in with your body – how it feels, where it is tight, where it is hurting – is imperative to living sensually.
It all begins with the mind-body-breath connection. Simply slowing down enough to breathe deeply and rhythmically, going inward, and focusing the mind on that breath (away from the 72 billion other things that are vying for its attention).
It can be done anywhere at anytime…just a few moments (or a lot more, if you have it).
I know it might seem silly to some, to put so much emphasis on the breath – something that most of our bodies simply do without us being consciously aware. But, the majority of us spend our days breathing shallowly, quickly, and not enough. I often make it all the way to my four o’clock yoga class without ever having consciously taken a deep breath; and I notice the impact when I do. It’s almost instant…that softening of the mind and the muscles…that letting go.
Improving the way we breathe improves our health in a myriad of ways.
Breathing correctly positively impacts our mental state, which is important to overall health. It also helps to calm the mind, which can rest the body. Deeper breathing brings more oxygen into the body, increasing energy, waking up our brains, relaxing muscles, and helping digestion.
Even focusing on our breath (deep belly breathing) for a few minutes can improve our state of mind. It requires us to slow down long enough to think about it, sit up straight (improving posture and stretching muscles).
Forcing ourselves to focus on our breathing takes our attention from other superfluous stimuli. It takes us into ourselves, connecting our minds to our bodies.
It’s a simple way to slow down, take stock, build awareness, and keep ourselves healthy.
Obviously, the main benefit of breathing is staying alive (duh), but breathing correcting can decrease stress, lower blood pressure, and reduce anxiety and tension (big ones for me). Deep breathing can also help to decrease pain, as it triggers the release of endorphins.
Deep Breathing can lead to better sex.
While breathing isn’t overtly sexy or sexual, it is something we can and should rely on during times of sexual intensity. Also, since stress can kill good sex, taking some time to breath and get in tune with the body, to become mindful of our its sensations and to tune out the rest of the world can help us to get in the right mindset for sexual activity.
Our deepest breathing engages the belly and the lower abdomen (our core), which is where our sexual organs reside. So, breathing deeply connects the mind to this part of the body…the muscles in and around these organs…and it can improve orgasms and make them last longer. Holding our breath (which happens more naturally for most of us at this moment) actually puts a stranglehold on the orgasm and can end it prematurely.
Obviously, however, you don’t want to spend so much time concentrating on your breathing that you forget to enjoy the orgasm…because that is just as bad as holding your breath. Which is why, practicing your breathing outside of the bedroom and making it a natural part of your experience is key. We want it to come easily when called upon.
Deep breathing isn’t something we do all the time, nor should we. We’d likely be light-headed from the oxygen hangover. But, incorporating breathing exercises into our day is definitely good for our physical, mental, and sexual health.