From the moment we're born into this world we breathe, and we do it correctly. There is no doctor, nurse, midwife, doula, or mama standing over our fresh little bodies coaching the proper rhythms of respiration. Somewhere along the line we lose touch with the only involuntary function of the body that we can control. The most common reason for "forgetting how to breath" is stress. When the body is stressed our breathing goes from a slow and rhythmic motion to a shallow labored uneven state.
Well, remember oxygen...it's kind of important to our overall well being you know?! Most people only breathe from the upper portion of the lungs which doesn't send enough oxygen to all of our major organs, and remember, your skin IS an organ! Your body thinks of your skin as the red headed step child. (Please don't take offense i'm a red head and a step child =] )It's the last organ to receive oxygen and nutrients so when you're breathing incorrectly you're literally suffocating your skin! Just look at the face of someone who smokes... their skin usually has a grayish tint because their skin is starving for oxygen!
So, how can you change this? There's only one simple way... start breathing properly! But, just like breaking any bad habit it takes time and practice. Once you feel the relaxing and beautifying effects of deep cleansing breaths your body will begin to crave more oxygen.
The next time you're driving around, sitting at your desk, or have any free moment practice this exercise:
1) Sit comfortably but straight and inhale deeply through your nose. Visualize sending that air straight down into your belly. You should be able to feel your abdomen expand. Keep inhaling for at least four counts. It might feel as if you're forcing the inhalation but keep going until you feel as if you can't go anymore and then go some more. Hold for a moment.
2) Exhale for at least four counts through the nose. Deflate your lungs completely. Exhale until it feels as if your belly is drawn as far back in to your spine as possible. Many people don't exhale fully and this traps stale air in the lungs and prevents them from filling fully on the inhalation.
Repeat these steps 3 times and increase to 10 over time. You could also do this at night to clear your mind and a get a peaceful nights sleep... which also does wonders for your skin by the way!
Also try using a calming essential like lavender to keep you focused on your breath. Over time you'll fully oxygenate your body and feel the effects on your well being as well as your face! There's nothing more beautiful than a balanced mind and body.