How Can Your Brain Improve When You Focus On Breathing?

Focused and rhythmatic breathing has been promoted for a long time. It is important to slow down and focus on breath. This is not just an advice based on commonsense, as it also reflects what is taught by stress reduction therapies like yoga and meditation which focus on the pace and timing of breath and its positive impacts on the mind and body. Find out what various studies recommend about the improvement of brain when one concentrates on breath.

The Journal of Neurophysiology

The findings of a new study published here states that varied patterns of breathing can activate the networks of the brain associated to body awareness, attention, emotion etc. With paced breathing, or conscious breathing in and out as per a set pattern, one can control the nervous system and focus attention. This breakthrough study revealed that paced breathing does not simply involve the use of the brain stem but also neural networks that go beyond the stem and are associated to the awareness of the body, attention and emotion. When one taps into such networks with breath, it is possible to get a robust tool to control stress responses.

Feinstein Institute for Medical Research

Researchers here wished to have a better understanding of the responses of the brain to various breathing workouts. The grown-ups who took part in the study were asked to participate in 3 breathing workouts when there was monitoring of their brains. It was seen that breathing has a wider impact on the brain areas of midbrain and cortex than was supposed previously. It detected a strong association between activation in the insula and breathing of participants. It was noted by researchers that when there was precise tracking of breath of participants, the anterior cingulate cortex as well as the insula became active. The anterior cingulate cortex is a part of the brain that is associated with awareness every moment.

The results from this kind of research upholds an association between various kinds of breathing – Attentional, Intentional and Rapid – with the activating of brain structures related to behavior, feeling and thinking. This makes it likelier that specific breathing techniques might be used to assist people in the management of their experiences, moods and thoughts.


Very little is actually known even today about the way the function of brain in human beings is affected by paced breathing. Paced breathing includes conscious exhalation and inhalation as per a specific rhythm. For instance, you might breathe in for 4 seconds, breathe out for 6 seconds and then repeat the process. Some research conducted before exhibits that paced breathing workouts are able to control the nervous system as well as concentrate attention in humans. It is hoped that  more studies carried out over time will be able to offer conclusive results and more light into the association between brain functionality and focused breathing. It is no wonder that rhythmatic breathing has long been regarded and promoted to be very useful in the improvement of health of human beings.

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