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When people are stressed they naturally sigh. This is how the body blows off steam and relaxes. The exhalation is stronger than the inhalation. When people are hot or stressed, they exhale forcefully with a “hhhaaaa” sound. It is similar to the way a dog pants on a hot day. When people are angry they tend to raise their voice of shout. This is because they are forcing out air with every breath. At a fundamental level it isn’t that different from Lamaze breathing during childbirth to alleviate pain. It’s quite literally how we vent. It’s how we expel. It’s how we cough and sneeze.If you need to “Get something off your chest.” This is a good way to do it.
When people yawn, they take a huge breath in and then seem to hold it. This is how the body tries to power up.Think of what happens when you are taking a shower and the water suddenly goes cold. You immediately gasp by inhaling into your chest. This is a yawn. From this, you can discover how to warm and strengthen yourself. If you find yourself yawning during the day, exaggerate your breathing pattern in order to recharge. When people feel cold and sad, they use a similar style of breathing to literally inspire themselves. We have all heard of people” feeling inspired” or “venting”. This knowledge is part of the human experience and its traces have been passed down in our language. If you need to chill out, then sigh. If you need to power up and become inspired then yawn. This is the essence of breathing exercises and meditation techniques.
Observe your breath and see what you can learn about yourself. Simply observe the waves of breath the way you might watch waves on the beach. Allow it to work by itself. Try to see how deeply you are breathing.
Is your breath making sound?
Is it easier to inhale or exhale?
How does the way you are breathing make you feel?
Which parts of your body could use more ventilation?
Do your cells want more or less oxygen?
Are you “yawning” by drawing in more air and holding it or “Sighing” by exhaling with more force?
Are there any areas of tension that are inhibiting your breathing?
How do different emotional states influence your breathing?
Yawning and Sighing by Andrew Miles & Xuelan Qiu is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License. Based on a work at enlightenweight.com.
Baby picture by Björn Rixman