This week, on NPR’s “Fresh Air”, I learned about a 20 year old study done by Italian researchers who gathered a group of subjects and had them recite the Ave Maria, the Catholic prayer cycle. Subsequently they had them recite the Buddhist prayer Om Mani Padme Hum. What they discovered was that it took about 5 1/2 seconds to recite each of these prayers, and then about 5 1/2 seconds to then inhale. Interestingly I had previously performed and recorded both these prayers and added them to my catalogue.
By balancing breathing, the Italian researchers discovered that blood to the brain increased and that the body entered a state of balance in which all of the organs and their systems worked in greater harmony with one another. By pacing the length of the inhale to the length of the exhale, you too can increase your ability to relax and enter a calmer state of mind. A helpful thing to know in these unprecedented times.