Cultivating Mindfulness ~ Staying in the Present

Why focus on Mindfulness?

Mindfulness is the practice of purposely focusing your attention on the present moment—and accepting it without judgment.

Mindfulness is now being examined scientifically and has been found to be a key element in stress reduction and overall happiness.

Mindfulness can help relieve stress, treat heart disease, lower blood pressure, reduce chronic pain, improve sleep, alleviate gastrointestinal difficulties, treat depression, substance abuse, eating disorders, anxiety disorders, and obsessive-compulsive disorder. Mindfulness improves overall well-being!

Here are 6 simple steps to practice mindfulness anytime, anywhere.

1)    FIND A PLACE that feels calm and quiet to you
2)    SET A TIME LIMIT. Use an alarm or your smartphone to set between 2 and 10 minutes. (beginners do just 2 minutes)
3)    REMAIN STILL. Commit to a comfortable and stable position during your meditation.
4)    FEEL YOUR BREATH. Follow the sensation of your breath as it goes in and out your nose.
5)    NOTICE WHEN YOUR MIND IS WANDERING. When you notice your mind is wandering, simply return your attention to the breath.
6)    BE KIND. Don’t judge yourself nor obsess over the content of the thoughts. Just keep coming back to observing the sensation of your breath.

Note:  In addition to formal meditation, you can also cultivate mindfulness informally by focusing your attention on your moment-to-moment sensations during everyday activities. This is done by single-tasking—doing one thing at a time and giving it your full attention. As you floss your teeth, pet the dog, or eat an apple, slow down the process and be fully present as it unfolds and involves all of your senses.

5 Dimensions of Well-Being

What does well-being look like to you? When you envision someone who is “well” and “healthy” what comes to mind? What factors do you think influence wellness?

  1. Emotional Well-Being: How can you become more effective in these abilities? The ability to accept yourself and successfully cope with the challenges life brings; ability to identify how you’re feeling and why; ability to constructively channel anger, love, fear, hope; ability to focus on positive things in your life; ability to find your meaning and purpose.
  2. Mental/Intellectual Well-Being: How can you stay mentally stimulated? Be creative in learning new concepts; expanding knowledge, skills, trying new hobbies; opening your mind to new ideas and experiences that can benefit your personal and professional life.
  3. Physical Well-Being: What aspects do you need to care for? (i.e. balanced nutrition, proper hydration, regular exercise, breathing techniques, healthy sleeping habits)
  4. Spiritual Well-Being: What helps you stay connected with your inner self? Cultivating inner peace? Practicing gratitude, meditation, contemplation, and prayer. Developing contentment? Being in nature? Growing your faith in your Loving Higher Power?
  5. Social Well-Being: What helps you feel close or connected with others? Having supportive relationships add value to our and other people’s lives. This is one of the strongest predictors of well-being.

At the end of each day, reflect on:

What have I done today that has given me a sense of accomplishment? Pleasure? Closeness with others? How can I find a healthy balance between work and play, between being active and resting? Am I making time for things I enjoy? Look to create balance? What can I do differently tomorrow?

Inner Peace: 6 Easy Tips

True inner peace is independent of external conditions and circumstances.

Inner peace is available only through looking inward, and can only and ever occur in the present moment.

Here are 6 simple tools to tap into your INNER PEACE

1. Meditate Every Day
Even if its for 5 minutes. Take out the time to breathe and just Be. Stop the inner noise, and find inner silence.

“I discovered the secret of the sea in meditation upon a dewdrop.” Kahlil Gibran

2. Develop Your Spiritual Practice 

Since you are unique, your practice needs to be unique to you. A spiritual practice can come in a thousand shapes and colors. There are no boundaries, no rule-books, and no right or wrong way to do it. Spirituality is simply a connection with your highest self, with your true purpose in life, with finding the path that brings you peace.

3. Read Uplifting Literature

Before going to bed, read something motivational or inspirational. It calms your mind, uplifts your spirit, and will even help you to get a good night’s sleep.

4. Engage In Daily Prayers

Make time to connect to your understanding of a loving Higher Power, and release your worries. Trust you’re not alone. Trust there’s a Higher Power with a Higher Purpose. Be like a child in the hands of a loving parent, where you can relax your mind, emotions, and soul.

5. Commune With Mother Nature

Get out for a 5-minute walk every day. Set the intention to notice the green trees, the flowers, the birds, the sky. You will come back recharged, and calm.

6.  Practice Affirmations
a) Repeat or create your own affirmations. “May I be filled with serenity. May I be safe from inner and outer dangers. May I be well in body and mind. May I be at ease and peace.”

b) “I am Divinely protected. I am Divinely guided”

In the words of Eckhart Tolle: You find peace not by rearranging the circumstances of your life, but by realizing who you are at the deepest level.” 

Practicing Resilience

REFLECTING ON RESILIENCE: 

In a nutshell, resilience can be defined as is the remarkable ability of humans to adapt when faced with adversity, as well as the ability to “bounce back” from disappointment- failure- loss, feeling stronger, wiser, and more determined than ever.
Resilience is about experiencing all of the negative, difficult, and distressing events that life throws at you while staying on task, optimistic, and high-functioning.

Here are 5 coaching tools I am focusing on to enhance RESILIENCE:

1) Reframe your mindset from victim to survivor: “I CAN DO THIS”, “I AM GOING TO MAKE IT NO, MATTER WHAT”. Become accountable and use whatever resources you have at hand. Affirm that you’re strong and capable enough to face anything life throws at you.

2) Accessing & Sustaining Positivity
When you withdraw your attention from negativity (stop feeding it energy, but at the same time not struggling against it) and instead give your attention to positivity, it can start to naturally displace the negatives.

A resilient person can overcome the devastating feelings of the crisis without getting stuck in the cycle of desperation and negativity.
Staying positive does not mean that things will turn out okay. Rather it is knowing that you will be okay no matter how things turn out.” – unknown

3)  Stop and think to make rational decisions: 
In the midst of the crisis or an unforeseen event, it’s easy to be compulsive, have poor judgment, and make wrong decisions. Train yourself to stop, analyze, and then decide.

4) Have Faith:  Trust that God, the Universe, or your own understanding of a Higher Power, will always conspire to contribute with you, and provide you with everything you need, in the hardest moments. Cultivate unbreakable faith.

5) Practice Affirmations: 
“I have the strength and courage to get through any situation.”
“I am flexible and can adapt when life doesn’t go according to plan”.
“I am Divinely protected. I am Divinely guided”

What do you tell yourself to build resilience?

However,it is not so easy for everyone, to take that step forward in times of crisis, and that is why I want to offer you my coaching services, to support you. Together we’ll develop the correct attitude, discover your strengths, work in the habits that limit you, and bring forth your talents, strengths and passions so that you can get the life you want.

In the words of Charles Darwin, “It is not the strongest of the species that survives . It is the one that is most adaptable to change.”

Wish you Love, Strength, Freedom, Health and Success !

In Gratitude,

Vero Vidal

5 Steps for Letting Go

Letting go is about accepting what is happening right now, and not worrying about what will come up tomorrow.

Fully accepting the situation as it is without constantly wishing it would be different, is the way to get on the road of being OK. And this isn’t limited to accepting situations. We have to start to accept people for who they are as well.

Remember, every day we have a choice to keep on holding on just a little longer or conclude that today is the day we will finally let go.

What do you want to let go of?  …anger?… fear?… resentment?…judgment?… sadness? the past?… the need to be right?… the need to control?… guilt? …the need to ask for advice?…addiction? … the need to be a victim? …

Think about it what in your life, is no longer serving you?

HOW TO WORK ON LETTING GO?

Here’s a 5 step process you can work through to loosen the grip and “let go”:

  1. Close your eyes and take ten deep breaths to calm and center yourself. Just allow your body to breathe however it needs to.
  2. When you feel calm, think about the thing you want to let go of, the thing you want to release. Feel the feelings that come up.  Don’t hold anything back.
  3. Focus on the strongest feeling. Exactly where do you feel it in your body?  All emotions create homes in our bodies which create physical sensations (pain, heat, cold, numbness, tightness, etc.).
  4. Open your eyes and start writing whatever comes up for you in a journal. Pen and paper work best for this process (no electronics).
  5. In your journal, answer these questions:  What do you want to let go of?  What patterns would you rather not repeat?  Can you see the difficult experience differently? What would you gain by letting go of this particular issue?

This process is like peeling an onion. In order to give your subconscious mind time to work, repeat this process on a weekly basis until you feel that you can truly let go and move forward.

However, it is not so easy for everyone, to take LET GO and move forward,  and that is why I want to offer you my coaching services, to support you. Together we’ll develop the correct attitude, discover what is holding you back, how to come into the present, and work in the habits that limit you so that you can enjoy what is unfolding right in front of you so that you can have the life you want!

Wish you Love, Strength, Freedom, Health, and Success!

In Gratitude,

Vero Vidal

 

Reflecting On Gratitude In Times of Hardship

Several studies have found that more grateful people experience less depression and are more resilient following traumatic events. Multiple studies have found that people with higher levels of dispositional gratitude have signs of better psychological health, including higher levels of perceived social support and lower levels of stress, depression, and anxiety.

Let me share 4 coaching tools I am focusing on to cultivate GRATITUDE:

1) Keep a Gratitude Journal. This is the most basic and powerful practice in all of Positive Psychology. There has not been a single text on happiness published in the past decade that does not mention this exercise. Every day, write down three blessings from the past 24 hours. Pencil and paper or online journal work equally well.

2) Offer a Prayer of Thanks. Robert Emmons, in his 2007 book, “thanks!” says that 70% of people surveyed (all religions combined) pray daily. Those who say ‘thank you’ more often than ‘please give me….’ experience higher life satisfaction.

3) Accept your situation. See beyond self-denial. Instead, accept your current situation. Sometimes it helps to accept a loss. This means accepting what you don’t have currently, and doing the best you can with what you have. This makes you ready to take in anything life throws at you.

4) Include others into your expression of gratitude. By focusing our gratitude on individuals that we are thankful for (and not material items or specific circumstances) we enhance the benefits of our gratitude. Give a detailed description of what this person did for you, and what impact they have created in your life.

“Everything that happens to us has a blessing built into it.” ~ Dr. Wayne Dyer

I sincerely hope these reminders are of service to you.

Que es Yoga Nidra?

¿Que es Yoga Nidra?

Antes de responder a esta pregunta, déjame preguntarte algo … ¿Sabías que todas las noches justo antes de que nos quedemos dormidos y todas las mañanas antes de que estemos completamente despiertos nuestros cerebros producen ondas alfa? Este patrón de actividad de las ondas cerebrales se asemeja al de alguien que está muy relajado, pero despierto. Alfa es el estado de reposo del cerebro. Las ondas alfa ayudan a la coordinación mental general, la calma, el estado de alerta, la integración mente / cuerpo y el aprendizaje. Cuando las ondas alfa de tu cerebro dominan, estás en un estado de relajación despierto, y gozando de tranquilidad físico-mental.

Los neurocientíficos recientemente hicieron una correlación entre un aumento de las ondas cerebrales alfa, ya sea a través de la estimulación eléctrica o la meditación, y la capacidad de minimizar la depresión y la ansiedad, así como aumentar el pensamiento creativo.

Además, las ondas cerebrales alfa generan un estado de alta receptividad mental que podemos utilizar a nuestro favor para acceder a nuestras mente subconsciente. Es solo desde lo más profundo de nuestras mentes que podemos romper los códigos auto-limitantes que nos llevarán a la transformación deseada de nuestra personalidad y de nuestra vida.

 ¿Hay alguna manera de activar ondas cerebrales alfa?

Puedes activar ondas cerebrales alfa en cualquier momento que desees mediante la práctica de YOGA NIDRA.

Yoga Nidra también se conoce como “Sueño Psíquico” porque nos lleva al estado mental alfa, donde el cuerpo está dormido y la mente está tranquilamente despierta. 

Entonces … ¿Qué es el Yoga Nidra?

  • Yoga Nidra es una técnica de meditación antigua muy poderosa que se originó en los Tantras. Es la forma científica de eliminar la causa raíz de todas las negatividades.
  • En Yoga Nidra, no solo disfrutas de una completa relajación física, mental y emocional, sino que también exploras los tremendos poderes escondidos en las capas más profundas de la mente subconsciente e inconsciente.
  • Yoga Nidra es el método más efectivo para eliminar, desde el núcleo, la fuente de todos los trastornos relacionados con el estrés, como hipertensión, depresión, insomnio, asma, trastornos digestivos, ansiedad, ataques de pánico, etc., que drenan su energía vital.
  • Yoga Nidra es la clave para acceder a los poderes inconmensurables de la mente subconsciente e inconsciente.

 

Yoga Nidra es un enfoque poderoso que aprendí en India y que preparé para ti en forma de audio, para que puedas escucharlo desde tu propio teléfono o cualquier otro dispositivo móvil.

Te ayudará a obtener claridad mental, eliminar la ansiedad, lidiar con la depresión, conquistar el insomnio y controlar el estrés.

 

La meditación guiada de Yoga Nidra te permite utilizar el estado mental alfa para establecer una breve resolución mental sobre lo que quieres manifestar en tu vida. Tu resolución personal formulada durante la práctica de Yoga Nidra es como plantar una “semilla poderosa” en las profundidades de su mente subconsciente. La mente subconsciente es un discípulo muy obediente e inmediatamente ejecuta las órdenes que tu le pones. Luego, la mente y el intelecto conscientes ordinarios continuarán automáticamente.

Al practicar Yoga Nidra puedes entrenar completamente tu mente subconsciente. El subconsciente y la mente inconsciente son las fuerzas más poderosas del ser humano. En Yoga Nidra aprendes cómo acceder a estas poderosas fuerzas para adquirir conocimiento, curar enfermedades, aumentar la creatividad y realizar tu verdadero ser.

¡Escucha la Meditación Guiada Yoga Nidra en tu teléfono o cualquier dispositivo móvil y comienza a vivir la experiencia del bienestar total! (Versiones en inglés y español)

Como siempre, te deseo óptimo estado salud y bienestar.

Con amor,

Vero Vidal 

What Is Yoga Nidra?

What is Yoga Nidra?

Before I answer this question, let me ask you something…Did you know that every night right before we fall asleep and every morning just before we are fully awake our brains produce alpha waves? This pattern of brain wave activity resembles that of someone who is very relaxed, yet awake. Alpha is the resting state of the brain. Alpha waves aid overall mental coordination, calmness, alertness, mind/body integration and learning. When your brain’s alpha waves are dominating, you’re in a state of wakeful relaxation, feeling peaceful and at ease.

Neuroscientists recently made a correlation between an increase of alpha brain waves—either through electrical stimulation or meditation—and the ability to minimize depression and anxiety as well as to increase creative thinking.

Furthermore, alpha brain waves generate a state of high receptivity of mind which we can use to our advantage to access our subconscious minds. It is only from the depths of our minds that we can break self-limiting codes that will lead us to the desired transformation of our personality and of our life.

Is there a way to produce your alpha brain waves at will? 

You are able to produce your alpha brain waves anytime you want to through the practice of YOGA NIDRA. 

Yoga Nidra is also known as “Psychic Sleep” because it takes us to the – alpha state of mind, where the body is asleep, and the mind is restfully awake.  

So …What is Yoga Nidra?

  • Yoga Nidra is a very powerful ancient meditation technique that originated in the Tantras. It is the scientific way to eliminate the root cause of all negativities.
  • In Yoga Nidra, you not only enjoy complete physical, mental and emotional relaxation, but you also explore the tremendous powers hidden in the deeper layers of the subconscious and unconscious mind.
  • Yoga Nidra is the most effective method to eliminate, from the core, the source of all stress-related disorders, such as hypertension, depression, insomnia, asthma, digestive disorders, anxiety, panic attacks, etc., that drain your vital energy.
  • Yoga Nidra is the key to entering the latent realms of the mind to access the incommensurable powers of the subconscious and unconscious mind.



Yoga Nidra
is a powerful approach that I learned in India and put together in audio form so you can listen to it from your own phone or any other mobile device.


It will assist you in gaining mental clarity, eliminating anxiety, dealing with depression, conquering insomnia, and managing stress.

 

Yoga Nidra Guided Meditation allows you to use the alpha state of mind to establish a short mental resolution about what you want to manifest in your life. Your personal resolution formulated during the practice of Yoga Nidra is like planting a “powerful seed” in the depths of your subconscious mind. The subconscious mind is a very obedient disciple and immediately executes the orders that you put on it Then, the ordinary conscious mind and intellect will continue the game.

By practicing Yoga Nidra you can fully train your subconscious mind. The subconscious and the unconscious mind are the most powerful forces in the human being. In Yoga Nidra you learn how to access these powerful forces to acquire knowledge, cure diseases, increase creativity and realize your true self.

Listen to Yoga Nidra Guided Meditation on your phone or any mobile device and start your journey to total wellness!  (Versions in English and Spanish)

As always, I wish you optimal health and well-being.

With Love,

Vero Vidal 

Finding Peace in Difficult Times

When a community is hit by a natural disaster, a shooting or a large societal issue, lives are lost or shattered by physical injury, the loss of homes and jobs. We try to make sense of what happened and deal with the stress of the situation.

Through these challenging times…

We become resilient

            We seek options

                        We don’t give up.

In spite of how much we try, we cannot pretend everything is just fine because things aren’t fine. These events create a tremendous amount of stress and anxiety for those directly and indirectly affected.  And there’s absolutely nothing wrong with feeling the emotional impact; we’re human and after a major traumatic event, it is ‘normal’ to feel stressed and have difficulty managing our feelings.

There’s so much bad happening to so many that focusing on the positive and not letting these chaotic events get us down, could be very challenging to most of us.

At the same time, I know that the way we feel individually impacts the collective mind. A joint vibration of panic and hopelessness has the ability to invite others to feel panic and hopeless in record time.

However, you may ask:  how can we rise above these tragedies while at the same time we give honor and respect to those affected by them?

The fact is that if we are wishing to contribute to any improvement of any kind, we must start finding peace within ourselves. We can make a positive impact in our immediate environment (family, friends, neighbors, clients, co-workers) by bringing out our sense of hope, strength and resilience.

By redirecting our mindset we can generate a new and positive ripple effect which will reach beyond our understanding.

As Mahatma Gandhi said: “You Must Be The Change You Want To See In The World”

We must draw strength from places of PEACE.  We can start by managing our stress, anger or depression in healthy ways through our faith or spirituality, volunteering, exercising, meditating, even singing, and enjoying time with friends, family, and pets.

Taking life ONE DAY AT A TIME with the help of relaxation, meditation and breathing techniques at some point before the day is over can make a huge difference in our outlook to life.

Most of us think that we are too busy to invest our time in any of these practices. However, we fail to realize how much time we spend in worrying, sleepless nights, and looking for cures to our sense of helplessness, anxiety, and desperation. When in fact,  the healthier we are, and the more relaxed we feel, the more available we would be to help not only ourselves but also, those in need.

One very efficient and healthy way to access a deep state of relaxation during difficult times is the powerful practice of the Yoga Nidra technique. (Download English Version or Spanish Version)

YOGA NIDRA is also known as “Psychic Sleep” because it takes us to the – alpha state of mind, (that state of mind where we naturally go every night right before we fall asleep, and every morning just before we are fully awake). The best thing about this practice is that you can do it in the comfort of your own bed at night before you go to sleep.

Yoga Nidra is a powerful approach that I learned in India and put together for you. It will assist you in gaining clarity of mind,  eliminating anxiety, dealing with depression, conquering insomnia, and managing stress.

You can download this effective guided meditation on your phone or any mobile device. (Versions in English and Spanish)

I believe that we can change the vibration of the planet one person at a time,  and, that you and I can make a difference by finding peace within. As John Lennon said, “You may say I am a dreamer, but I am not the only one”.

With Love,

Veronica Vidal

www.veroyoga.com

www.verolifecoach.com

info@verovidal.com

305-365-5483

Online Worldwide Coaching

The Science of The Breath

Breathing is everything. Rather, correct breathing is everything.

It can be the difference between a super-strong pain-free body and one that’s under constant Cortisol distress and full of instability.

When you take a deep breath in and your diaphragm contracts down, it stimulates the vagus nerve. When the vagus nerve is stimulated, this sends a message back up to the brain telling you to relax. Lots of wonderful things happen when we relax. We sleep better,  food digest better, the process of waste products elimination is better, and even sex is better.

So, what happens if you have a shallow breathing pattern and the top of your chest and shoulders move primarily when you take air in? Say hello to your friend Cortisol — your body is thrown into a flight or fight stimulus! No one needs that extra stress, life is hard enough, so let’s break it down a bit more and get you into a correct deep breathing pattern.

How do you take a deep breath?

Although many people feel a deep breath comes solely from the expansion of the chest, chest breathing (in of itself) is not the best way to take a deep breath. While most of us never give breathing a second thought, the way we draw breath can affect our physical, mental and emotional well-being.

Breathing correctly is the path to self-healing. Besides transporting oxygen and carbon dioxide through the bloodstream, how else do you think the breath contributes to our health and well-being?

Reducing stress, sleeping better, or relieving pain – all may be as simple as becoming conscious of our breath. Deep breathing techniques can change our life!

Becoming conscious of our breath

Poor breathing habits can lead to negative health consequences—our body’s organs cannot work to their full potential without plenty of oxygen and the proper elimination of carbon dioxide. Many common health ailments such as high blood pressure, migraine headaches, anxiety, stress, chronic pain, depression, asthma, and insomnia. can be at least alleviated or completely controlled simply by making a conscious effort to breathe slowly and deeply.

Breathing properly can reduce stress levels, improve workouts and boost your immunity to infections and illnesses. Poor breathing can contribute to panic attacks and even conditions like insomnia and depression.

So, what can we do to reverse these obviously undesirable effects? Simply pause and become aware of the incoming and outgoing breath. Allow the breath’s rhythm to the center, ground and calm you. Just Breathe Consciously! 

Conscious breathing is a great form of meditation that can be easily practiced anywhere, anytime! 

Test #1: Place your hands surrounding your rib cage right under your chest and take in a big breath of air. Your ribs should move out in the front, sides, and back. Did you feel them move? They should move a lot! Maybe you only felt some of your ribs move? Did the ribs on the back left under your thumb not move as much as the right? No? There’s the source of that neck or midback tightness you’ve been feeling. Fascinating, isn’t it?

Step one: Get your ribs to expand out in a 360 fashion when you breathe.

Test #2: Did your diaphragm contract down in a deep breathing pattern with great rib expansion? Did you feel expansion right under your ribcage or did your ribcage move followed by your shoulders and your belly suck in? Now, I want you to drop a couple of fingers down under your ribcage while leaving one or two on top. Take a deep breath in. Did it expand out into your fingers right under your ribcage?

Breathing is absolutely essential to life, but it’s often overlooked as a necessity for good health. Practicing conscious breathing can help us to improve our sleep, reduce stress, and boost overall health.

Breathing properly can reduce stress levels, improve workouts and boost your immunity to infections and illnesses. Poor breathing can contribute to panic attacks and even conditions like insomnia and depression. Conscious breathing is a great form of meditation that can be easily practiced anywhere, anytime! Simply pause and become aware of the incoming and outgoing breath. Allow the breath’s rhythm to the center, ground and calm you.

Breathing is most unique as compared to other visceral (e.g. digestion, endocrine, or cardiovascular) functions in that it can also be regulated voluntarily.

Cellular metabolism (reactions in the cell to produce energy) for example, is regulated by oxygen provided during breathing. There is clear evidence that controlled breathing techniques can affect oxygen consumption and metabolism (Jerath et al., 2006). In fact, much of the aim of pranayama breathing (yogic breathing) appears to shift the autonomic nervous system away from its sympathetic (excitatory) dominance. Pranayama breathing has been shown to positively affect immune function, hypertension, asthma, autonomic nervous system imbalances, and psychological or stress-related disorders (Jerath et al., 2006). Jerath and colleagues add those investigations regarding stress and psychological improvements support evidence that pranayama breathing alters the brain’s information processing, making it an intervention that improves a person’s psychological profile.”

Slow pranayama breathing techniques show the most practical and physiological benefit, yet the underlying mechanism of how they work is not fully elucidated in the research (Jerath et al., 2006). However, Jerath and colleagues hypothesize that “the voluntary, slow deep breathing functionally resets the autonomic nervous system through stretch-induced inhibitory signals and hyperpolarization (slowing electrical action potentials) currents…which synchronizes neural elements in the heart, lungs, limbic system and cortex.” As well, investigations have demonstrated that slow breathing pranayama breathing techniques activate the parasympathetic (inhibitory) nervous system, thus slowing certain physiological processes down that may be functioning too fast or conflicting with the homeostasis of the cells (Jerath et al., 2006).

Thus, one meaningful aspect in learning breathing techniques is the awareness in the difference in smooth, even breathing to erratic breathing. Modifications in respiratory patterns come naturally to some individuals after one lesson, however, it may take up to six months to replace bad habits, and ultimately change the way one breathes (Sovik, 2000). The general rule, often noted in studies, and particularly observed by Gallego et al. (2001) was that if a voluntary act is repeated, “learning occurs, and the neurophysiological and cognitive processes underpinning its control may change.” Gallego et al. continue that while some changes can be made, the need for longer-term studies is warranted to better understand the attention-demanding phases involved with these breathing changes.

To summarize, Sovik suggests the characteristics of optimal breathing (at rest) are that it is diaphragmatic, nasal (inhalation and exhalation), smooth, deep, even, quiet and free of pauses.

Final Thoughts
The research is very clear that breathing exercises (e.g. pranayama breathing) can enhance parasympathetic (inhibit neural responses) tone, decrease sympathetic (excitatory) nervous activity, improve respiratory and cardiovascular function, decrease the effects of stress, and improve physical and mental health (Pal, Velkumary, and Madanmohan, 2004).