If I was to tell you that there’s such a thing as colour breathing, how would you react? Would you be intrigued and want to know more? Or would you laugh at me and think, finally, I’ve gone bonkers?
There are countless studies which report that, in today’s fast-paced, high-stressed world, our breathing is becoming shallower. And, as a result, our body isn’t benefitting from the amount of oxygen that should be coursing through us.
Let’s do a quick experiment.
Breathe normally, just as you would breathe throughout everyday life. Don’t change it in anyway.
Got your rhythm?
Okay, then, place the palm of one of your hands onto your stomach.
Does your stomach move at all as you breathe?
If the answer is no or just a teeny tiny bit, then you’re not breathing fully enough or properly. When you breathe properly, your stomach should expand outward, pushing your hand away from you, as you breathe in.
Us humans are referred to as belly breathers. What that means is when we breathe properly, we suck air in through our nose. That air should then travel to the stomach as the diaphragm, a major muscle in our respiratory system, contracts. As the stomach fills with air, it expands, pushing outwards and your lungs fill with air.
Then when we exhale, completely emptying our lungs with air, our stomach should shrink and contract back into the body.
Improper breathing, in other words breathing shallower than you should, means you're not getting oxygen all the way down into the bottom part of the lungs, which is where many of the small blood vessels that deliver oxygen to your cells, live.
Here’s the thing… every single system in our body, from digestive to muscular to circulatory, depends on oxygen. Not enough oxygen and our systems can’t operate at peak capacity.
That means when we learn how to breathe effectively and properly, when we take time out to consciously breathe fully, we get to enjoy benefits such as a greater sense of mental clarity, better sleep, more efficient digestion of food, an improved immune response, and reduced stress levels.
Indeed, people who regularly practice a method of breathing whether that is regular breathing yoga (known as Pranayama), breathwork, or colour breathing can help regulate the sympathetic nervous system; the part of the body that controls breathing, heart rate and blood pressure.
However, unless we stop to consciously breathe deeply and fully, most, if not all, of us are not letting our lungs fill up with oxygen the way they are designed to. And we’re also not expelling and completely emptying our lungs either, as we should do.
Colour breathing is a simple technique that can be used to reduce stress, manage anxiety, improve oxygen intake and much more. And is a technique that can be used to alter and enhance our emotions and mood, thanks to the impact colour has on our emotions and mood.
The unfortunate fact is that most of us live shrouded in stress and anxiety. Whether it comes from fears and worries about what’s waiting just around the corner in our life deadlines and stresses associated with our jobs, concerns about our financial situation, the state of our health, or even relationships, stress and anxiety never seem to be too far away in life.
And, as a result, our breathing tends to be shallower than it should be and not as revitalising as it could be.
When you breathe using colour, you breathe in and incorporate the mood and emotions emanated by that specific colour.
“Why colour?” you might be wondering.
Why not just take time out and focus on breathing properly? Wouldn’t that be enough?
Physically, yes, taking time out every day to breathe properly would benefit you physically, achieving many benefits for your body already mentioned.
However, why stop at the physical? If you can improve your mental and emotional wellbeing as well as your physical, all at the same time, getting more bang for your buck, well, I say go for it.
The connection between colour and our emotions was something that was first considered and explored by German poet, philosopher, artist and scientist, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe in the 18th century. He was very much interested in the psychological effects of colour and, indeed, argued that the sensations and feelings created when colour reaches our brain, are based on our personal and subjective perception of colour.
For example, reds, yellows, greens were, according to Goethe, associated with gaiety, warmth and happiness. Whereas blues, blue-greens, and purples he believed were a product of ‘restless, susceptible, anxious impressions.’ In other words, Goethe founded the understanding and realisation that colours can actually impact us on an emotional and psychological level.
It's a very easy concept to prove. Think about how you feel when you look out the window and see a beautiful blue, cloudless sky. You feel happy, right? The blue, cloudless sky makes you feel cheerful.
But what happens if you look out of the window 30 minutes later, only to see a grey sky, filled with dark clouds? Do you still feel happy and cheerful, or does it dampen your spirits and make you feel a bit gloomy? Your emotions and mood will mimic the grey on the sky, right?
So where proper breathing can positively impact your body, physically, adding a bit of colour into the mix can impact you, emotionally.
Whilst you can consider any colour or, indeed, a rainbow of colours when you breathe, I thought I’d share an exercise with you that focuses on breathing the colour yellow.
The reason for choosing yellow is that this colour, in particular, has an instant impact on your emotions and mood. So, you get to benefit both the effects of breathing properly and a positive change in your emotions and mood.
Please note: this colour breathing exercise is taken directly from my online course, Understanding and Interpreting Colours on Angel and Oracle cards.